10 years have passed since Enchant’s last album, 2003’s Tug of War. In that time, Ted Leonard took over as lead vocalist for Spock’s Beard. That seemed to signify the end of Enchant. So it was a pleasant surprise to get the news that a new Enchant album was in the works. After hearing it, I can gladly say, it was worth the wait. “The Great Divide” is the strongest group of songs since 1996’s “Wounded” and finds the band rejuvenated with a refreshed Enchant-Prog sound. The production is tighter and Ted’s vocals sound more mature and in control than on prior albums.
The album kicks off with the upbeat rocker, “Circles”, which incorporates some layered vocal harmonies over Bill Jenkins’ synth sounds. The band have always shined in the instrumental sections and that is no different here. Doug Ott’s guitar is as recognizable as ever and his solo here is a sign of more great things to come throughout the album.
One of the highlights of the album is the second track “Within an Inch.” There is some Spock’s Beard influence here. Ted even sounds a little like Nick D’Virgillio when he was singing for Spock’s. The chorus of “Can you hear me?”, with its harmonies over the lead guitar part, is unrelenting in its catchiness. This part gives way to a double hi-hat keyboard solo section, sounding like a modern day ELP.
Things just continue to get better with the album’s best track “The Great Divide.” Featured as the first musical part on the album’s pre-release trailer video, the song features the album’s signature motif, a beautifully written guitar lead. This part stays in your head for days. It’s also the album’s longest track allowing the band to venture into different territories, building on that main guitar part and adding to it. The band stretch their instrumental chops on this one which is destined to be one of the best song’s of 2014.
Having kicked off with 3 strong songs, each one topping the other, it was going to be tough to continue to reach a higher bar. The album does not let up, however. “All Mixed Up” is a short heavier track, while “Transparent Man” is more typical old-school Enchant with an upbeat arena rock chorus. “Life In A Shadow”, while not all that slow, is really the album’s ballad. The song builds into a strong power ballad towards the end.
“Deserve to Feel” is the where the band return to more progressive stylings, with a darker chorus and a true Prog chorus. Each section in this song has some complicated part going on. There are more time and part changes in this one than in most of the other songs combined. The ending features the guitar and keyboards swapping solos like early 90’s Dream Theater. “Here and Now” is another Prog epic with a soaring chorus and continued guitar solos.
The album closes on an incredible instrumental entitled “Prognosticator.” As if there wasn’t enough shredding going on throughout the other songs, this song will surely leave you satisfied.
Since the band released their last album in 2003, there has been a shift away from this kind of Prog towards either very 70’s retro Prog or the harder edges Nu-Prog. Enchant do not shy away from a more traditional Hard Rock/Prog sound here, which is welcome. If you like layered parts, guitar and keyboard solos, long songs, great chorus melodies, you will find no shortage of those here. And you will be pleased with the result.
Release Date: Sept 30th in the US (Inside Out Music)
Key Tracks: The Great Divide, Within An Inch, Deserve To Feel
1. Circles (8:00)
2. Within An Inch (7:35)
3. The Great Divide (9:06)
4. All Mixed Up (4:12)
5. Transparent Man (6:21)
6. Life In A Shadow (5:01)
7. Deserve To Feel (8:02)
8. Here And Now (7:34)
9. Prognosticator (8:22)
Ted Leonard – vocals, guitar
Doug Ott – guitar
Ed Platt – bass guitar
Sean Flanegan – drums
Bill Jenkins – keyboards