ENCHANT — The Great Divide (review)

ENCHANT — The Great Divide album cover Album · 2014 · Metal Related Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
"The Great Divide" is the 8th full-length studio album by US progressive rock/metal act Enchant. The album was released through InsideOut Music in September 2014. Enchant has been on a longer hiatus, and haven´t released a studio album since "Tug of War (2003)", although they did release the "Live at Last" live album and DVD in 2005 before disappearing completely. Especially lead vocalist Ted Leonard has spend the intermediate years in a very productive way though as he has released albums with Affector, Thought Chamber and Spock´s Beard, and also played live with Transatlantic. Drummer Sean Flanegan has played with Cynthesis and keyboard player Bill Jenkins has also been involved with Thought Chamber. Other than the mentioned musical projects, the members have also spend time starting families.

So 11 years later is it then a more mature band who has written and recorded "The Great Divide"? That´s actually both a yes and a no as Enchant has almost always appeared as a mature act with a defined sound, and while "The Great Divide" is different sounding from the last couple of releases by the band, it´s not so different that you can´t instantly recognise Enchant´s signature sound. Ted Leonard´s strong voice and skillful vocal delivery is as always in front of the band´s progressive rock/metal sound. A sound that features vocals, drums, bass, guitar, and omnipresent keyboards. Both the vocals and the instrumental parts are skillfully performed by all involved.

The material on the 8 track, 55:34 minutes long album, features clear vers/chorus structures, but most tracks also feature extented instrumental progressive sections, alternate vocal sections, and both guitar and keyboard solos, so this is still pretty complex music, which the often relatively long playing times of the tracks also provide room for. Melody and memorability are always in focus though and the technical playing is ultimately just a means to an end. Compared to the last couple of releases, "The Great Divide" isn´t as heavy and there are only a few metal traits overall on the album. Instead the keyboards are more dominant than ever, and Douglas Ott concentrate more on lead guitars, atmospheric chords progressions, and clean guitar parts, than heavy distorted riffing. So "The Great Divide" is overall more a progressive rock release rather than a progressive metal ditto.

"The Great Divide" is overall a relatively strong release with a good flow, and while the quality and memorability of the tracks decrease sligthly after the opening trio of tracks "Circles" (which is a pretty different sounding Enchant song), "Within An Inch" and the title track, the album as a whole is both well written and for the most part intriguing (although the lyrics are generally filled with simple rock clichés, and definitely could have been written with a bit more finesse). The fact that it´s both well performed and well produced too, aren´t exactly issues either and 3.5 star (70%) is therefore fully deserved. "The Great Divide" is ultimately a welcome comeback release for Enchant, although not all tracks are equally interesting and some lack a bit of edge and power (tracks like "Transparent Man" and "Life In A Shadow" apply to that description).
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