Distributor/label: Skyfire Interactive
Distributor/label URL: http://skyfirepr.com/
Released: 5th November 2012
– Robert John Godfrey – Keyboards
– Dave Storey – Drums and Percussion
– Max Read – Guitars and Bass
– Joe Payne – Vocals
– Jason Ducker – Guitars
– Nicholas Willes – Bass, Percussion, and Guitar
2. One and the Many
3. Who Created Me?
4. Execution Mob
5. Witch Hunt
6. Heaven’s Gate
8. Villain of Science
9. The Whispering
I tossed around a number of ideas and possible considerations prior to writing this review, and yet, I remain not quite sure which path to take it down. How much context should I provide? The Enid have been churning out records for, roughly, the last four decades, albeit through an almost constantly altering line-up, with one – almost – common member, considering their 8-year-long disbanding and hiatus. To give some idea of how long ago Robert John Godrey founded the band: Edward Heath was our Prime Minister. I imagine many of you won’t have even heard of the man. The band were also, supposedly, the first major group to publicly be funded entirely by their fans; how this is possible and what aspect of their operations was funded, I don’t really know, though it’s an interesting claim to make nonetheless.
How much of The Enid’s back-catalogue should I lend my ear to? I generally seek to research some of the artist’s earlier releases so as to produce a more informed review, though a phenomenal 27 albums have instantiated the band’s name, ignore the plurality of special releases and singles, and the fact that ‘Invicta’ – their latest effort – is the second in a planned trilogy, proceeding from 2010’s, ‘Journey’s End’. And finally, how should I describe their sound? Well, it’s roughly a synthesis of extraordinarily slow power metal, religious musical theatre, opera, and perhaps some traditional Irish folk music, with the odd input of German Romanticism à la Wagner. As you can see, my deliberation wasn’t very fruitful.
Perhaps focusing more so on individual songs, or the striking features of the album would be more advised. Ultimately, though, the most salient feature of the album for me was confusion: I’m not really sure what this is, so to speak. It’s almost impossible to categorize the genre as anything other than experimental, though many regard The Enid as titans of British progressive rock, wherein ‘rock’ is being applied very liberally, to be sure. There is, however, a persistent theatrical theme to ‘Invicta’ – operatic vocals, almost ‘bouncy’ string sections, and lots of instrumental build-ups – though it seems unfair to disregard the album as a mere possible soundtrack to a pantomime, as they seemingly have a large cult following, which virtually revere them.
So, I suppose what I’m trying to express, granted, in a rambling format, is that this release isn’t really my kind of thing. It’s just not the kind of music that grabs my attention, inspires me, or even pleases me – it’s undoubtedly alien to my usual listening material. That said, it would be poor for a reviewer to allow their personal preferences to cloud a more impartial judgement, so, I’m happy to say that if you’re looking for something very over-the-top, theatrical, and expressive, with seeming religious overtones, then this album is for you, but I’m afraid that this isn’t my cup of coffee.
Review By Tom Payne