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


The Enid


Symphonic Prog

4.24 | 206 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
4 stars Majestic orchestrations and sweeping crescendos become an emotional soundtrack

My first listen to The Enid began with this album and I was quite surprised at the musicianship and the structure of the songs. There is a full on orchestral feel to these tracks and essentially you may be mistaken for an actual movie soundtrack such is the orchestration and mood swings of the music.

'Fool' begins with a staccato hammering piano chord and then some gentle piano follows, though it has a threatening edge, an ominous looming shape, as if something is creeping up from behind. This is soon joined by the effects of water and a perhaps a porpoise. The trumpets resound adding a majesty and there is a low droning. Welcome to the world of The Enid. It is unlike any symphonic I have heard in a long time and this may take some getting used to. The instrumentation is designed to evoke specific moods.

When 'The Tower of Babel' chimes in there is a foreign sound, perhaps Eastern and even a galloping guitar motif, reminding me of someone galloping on horseback through a steaming desert. The Egyptian style music helps to enhance this imaginary scene. There is a lot of musicianship here and this band is obviously virtuoso when it comes to structure and control of instruments that fade in and out at appropriate times. When it is inspired like this track, it is complex and magical. I would rate this as a highlight of the album.

The inventive music continues on 'The Reaper' that begins with a church pipe organ and a violin style pad. A melodic clean guitar picks a nice tune. It is very much like the music found in a melancholy moment in a romance movie. The chiming bell is an ethereal sound, tolling in death, as a crazed bass drum echoes thunderously and a crescendo of strings rises up. An intriguing track with many mood swings and emotional resonances. The overall feel of mystery and intrigue is essential to the music.

'The Loved Ones' begins with minimalist gentle piano and soft strings. Romantic, sweeping and emotive piano and strings follow and draw in a listener if they are prepared to immerse themselves. It is like the style of composer Rachmaninov.

'The Demon King' begins with a flight of eerie piano and a chilling heavy motif. The guitars are great on this and the heavier treatment is welcome after the lulling previous song. This has some shimmering Hammond and wah wah guitar to create the sense of impending dread. Perhaps reminded me more of Therion in a sense though there is no metal. There are some cheeky melodies adding a humorous edge but this is darker than previous material on the album. A definitive highlight.

'Pre-Dawn' and 'Sunrise' begins with a lone pastoral trumpet presenting the theme of dawn approaching is heard. This is joined by gentle music that is sleepy and dreamlike. The flute shrills and runs are well executed, as are the sweeping violins.

'The Last Day' features an estranged Bolero rhythm similar to Ravel in a sense. The tune is recognisable to those familiar with classical music. It begins slowly and softly building to the crescendo of trumpets and drums that crash fortissimo. It segues into 'The Flood' where there are musical shapes of allegro and adagio, light and shade throughout, and it builds to a rousing finale where a synthesizer and guitar are accompanied by flute, trickling harp and waves crashing on a beach. The balletic Bolero style of these pieces are music of mounting intensity, an orchestrated crescendo, a wonderful piece of music.

'Under the Summer Stars' begins with a zither twanging and a flute, joined by an off beat drum rhythm and swells of guitar. A very different piece to previous tracks. The guitar dominates with violining and picking expertise. The flute is a mystical sound, the mellotron is strong and the melody is infectious when it locks in. It is a bit like Pink Floyd and has a spacey guitar to give it the serrated edge of dark prog. Another highlight that draws this album to a close.

'Adieu' blends seamlessly from the previous track and is a farewell piece. The piano is played with nimble fingered dexterous flourishes. A synthesiser echoes the tune and a harp brings a majestic touch. And so it ends on a quiet lulling note, like the denouement of a movie.

Final words are to steer clear if you are not a classical music fan as this is genuine classical music with very little rock. The Enid had not introduced singing at this early stage but it was the beginning of great things to come. It is a nice piece of music on the whole but I can see how this will not appeal to everyone. There are moments on this that are fantastic but overall it is not something I would return to often in the same way as I have with Pink Floyd or Rush or Dream Theater, but The Enid deserve at least 4 stars for musicianship and innovation on this album.

AtomicCrimsonRush | 4/5 |


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