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The Enid - In the Region Of The Summer Stars (1984) CD (album) cover

IN THE REGION OF THE SUMMER STARS (1984)

The Enid

 

Symphonic Prog

4.25 | 197 ratings

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Matti
Prog Reviewer
5 stars (Based on a book chapter.) The ENID was relatively a latecomer in symphonic prog, but in a sense the group represents the ultimate development of the genre. Hardly any other band with rock instruments has managed to sound so orchestral and classical. The frontman Robert John Godfrey had made orchestrations for Barclay James Harvest in the late sixties and early seventies. His solo debut Fall of Hyperion (recorded early in 1972 but released in 1974) already points at the style of The Enid, even though it's not instrumental; the classic poems of John Keats are sung by Christopher Lewis who has remained quite unknown.

The Enid was founded in 1974 by Godfrey and the guitarists Francis Lickerish and Stephen Stewart. Accompanied by a drummer, bassist and another keyboard player, they signed a deal with EMI and recorded their magnificent debut album In the Region of Summer Stars (released on February 1976). Just like the Steve Hackett solo debut The Voyage of Acolyte (1975) a couple of months earlier, the inspiration and the concept was taken from the Tarot pack. The partly re-recorded 1984 release has a slightly different track list. This newer version is much better available than the original.

The introductory 'Fool' starts with powerful piano chords. The watery sound effects and an ethereal trumpet pave way for more dynamic prog rock of 'The Tower of Babel'. However, both the detail-rich sound and the compositional style seem to be closer to (neo) romantic orchestral music than rock; the delicate and moody 'The Lost Ones' would almost pass for a slow movement of a piano concerto. On several tracks the synths are practically taking the place of strings, but for example electric guitar and drums are still easily recognized. On later Enid albums the technological development made it possible to take the (mock-) orchestral sound even further away from rock. In any case, as a strongly art music influenced prog album, In the Region of Summer Stars is a truly delicious work: romantic without being too sweet, and dynamic without being pretentious. A unique masterpiece.

Matti | 5/5 |

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