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Soul Enema - Thin Ice Crawling CD (album) cover


Soul Enema


Eclectic Prog

3.91 | 82 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars The peculiarly named SOUL ENEMA is the brainchild of the restless and productive spirit of the Russian born Constantin Glanz turned Israeli whose fascination with electric musical elements has made him a cu'ri'o'so in layering various elements together since the band's inception all the way back in 2001. Despite having formed at the turn of the millennium, here it is 2017 and Glanz has created a mere two albums with entirely different cast members. THIN ICE CRAWLING which finally emerged in 2010 is the debut that garnered international attention in the progressive rock / metal crowds for deftly packaging up ample doses of melodic rock that unfold in very experimental ways and in the process incorporate all kinds of genres and styles often leaving the listener in the dark about just how in the world to categorize this eclectic cauldron of simmering extravagance. In the days when carbon copy clones are creeping in with a quickening pace as progressive rock and metal burgeon in popularity, once in a while a rare musical creation comes along that effortlessly stands out from the crowd with a sound so distinct and original that it manages to sweep away all the competition in its ambitious and unpredictable sonic peregrination.

While melodic hard rock with outbursts of heavy distorted metal riffing are ubiquitous trademarks on THIN ICE CRAWLING with an emphasis on the catchiest yet quirky melodies possible, the other musical elements are a total grab bag as SOUL ENEMA crafts a clever path through which metal and rock mix and mingle with European folk, jazz-fusion, Middle Eastern, Oriental and other elements which gleefully play together like musical United Nations poster children that somehow flirted with the theatrical flirtatiousness of Broadway all the while juxtaposing elements in reckless manners that find doves of peace coinciding with weapons of mass destruction. At this stage SOUL ENEMA consisted of main man Constantin Glantz on keyboards, sound effects and male vocals, Max Mann on bass, Oleg Szumsky on drums and the feminine beauty of vocalist Irina Sherr whose mezzo-soprano presence adds a stabilizing effect to the beastly guitar riffs of Yevgeny Kushnir and jittery keyboard fluctuations of Glantz. In addition to the regular cast members are a few additional performers adding various ethnic percussion instruments alto sax. Although no credits are given i'm sure there are violins as well.

THIN ICE CRAWLING is a true delight to sit through from beginning to end (although an adventurous listen). Having taken several years to construct and perfect, this album delivers a string of infectious melodic developments all decorated with some of the most unorthodox twists and turns that while remaining totally logical in how they connect, never fail to surprise in how they are connected. In many ways THIN ICE CRAWLING comes off as an Aeryon type album with a perfectly balanced tightrope act of sensuality, bombast and Vaudeville type charm. At times one element may dominate, at times they alternate and at times they all play together seemingly on recess from the lessons learned from the school text books that have been ossified into the orthodox rulebook. Surprise and sense of adventure is what SOUL ENEMA playfully conjure up on this hour plus listening experience. In retrospect SOUL ENEMA makes me think of a less frenetic, more melodic and incredibly structured form of Unexpect as Irina Sherr's female vocals along when the violin led folk aspects dominate while the frenetic keyboards with the heavy guitars clearly bring Arjen Lucassen's many projects to mind.

As SOUL ENEMA emerges from their slumber seven long years later with their long-awaited followup "Of Clans And Clones And Clowns" which perfects many of the musical aspects laid down on this debut, THIN ICE CRAWLING is not to be missed as it is every bit as addictive as the followup and despite Glantz being the only connection between the two albums, there is a very cohesive feel between the two releases thus demonstrating Glantz' talents as a conductor who can eke out the potentials of his musical ensembles that he strings together quite well. As the main songwriter and arranger it shouldn't come as much of a surprise however making a large group of musicians perform so well is equivalent to herding cats in a string factory. THIN ICE CRAWLING is an utterly brilliant piece of work that dexterously agglutinates a ridiculous amounts of styles and influences ranging from the melodic hooks of ABBA to the prog workouts of King Crimson and Frank Zappa with enough classical and metal to expand the possibilities even further. My only complaint is perhaps there's too much of a good thing and a couple overlong tracks like "Unholy Ghost" and the lugubrious piano laden "Outro" (although i love the craziness after the silence) which fit in thematically don't hold my interest as much by the time i get to the end. Still though, this is a minor quibble and overall this debut album is impressive even if somewhat exhausting in one go!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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