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


The Enid


Symphonic Prog

4.26 | 243 ratings

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Prog Folk Researcher
4 stars One has to wonder what might have come of the Enid, and of symphonic progressive music in general, had this album been released around 1972 instead of 1976.

By 1976 of course symphonic rock had been largely banished to the vinyl collections of stoners and the dusty shelves of used record stores (God bless those old shops!). Many believe (myself included) that the overly grandiose and self-indulgent excesses of Yes and ELP earlier in the decade were largely to blame for at least some of the waning popularity. The Enid by comparison demonstrate all that is truly wonderful about symphonic rock in an album that is both beautiful and quite accessible, even to the neophyte or undiscerning listener. The compositions on this album are well-developed, beautifully and logically sequenced, and most importantly not excessively pompous ala 'Tales from Topographic Oceans' or even 'Brain Salad Surgery' for that matter. Not that those aren't wonderful albums ? they are, but Lickerish, Godfrey and company manage to deliver their version of classic prog in a way that invites both rock and classical fans alike to share in its magic. It's kind of like pop-symph-prog, if that's in fact a genre.

I guess there were a couple of CD reissues of this record that are less than stellar; I don't know much about those but have read enough to steer clear even though copies can be had quite cheaply today. The new EMI remastered release (which you can listen to on the band's website while waiting for your preorder) is apparently a reissue from the original master tapes though, and for my money well worth the time and expense of adding to your collection.

Robert John Godfrey's keyboard work is stellar throughout, crisp and well-articulated while seamlessly gliding through the entire seven-track instrumental epic in perfect synch with Lickerish and Stewart's guitar forays and Tollet's understated bass. The shifting of high energy on "The Devil" to the sweeping and intricate "The Sun" is a feat of classical/rock melding that itself alone makes the entire album work. And the closing title track sets the stage for what would follow in terms of variety and sound exploration.

The only thing that keeps me from naming this a five-star masterpiece is the lengthy but nonetheless somewhat underdeveloped "The Last Judgement", which for me seems to make a bit too much of a shift from the mood of the rest of the album to aurally fit comfortably on the record. Perhaps the percussion could have been a bit more muted, or maybe the crescendo toward the end of bit less brash; not sure exactly but it doesn't quite live up to the expectation set by the rest of the album.

Still, this is a lost classic of sorts given the relative lack of lasting popularity of the band and their music. And that's too bad, because as the seventies wore on we could have used more of this sort of beautiful music to drown out the new-age and disco salmon droppings that were dominating the airwaves and record shops. Find this one if you can (the original vinyl or the EMI remaster), and enjoy an respite to ponder what sort of creative genius infected these guys at a time when the art of progressive rock was in sore need of heroes. Four stars for sure and highly recommended.


ClemofNazareth | 4/5 |


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