ENCHANT — Juggling 9 Or Dropping 10

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ENCHANT - Juggling 9 Or Dropping 10 cover
3.59 | 13 ratings | 3 reviews
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Album · 2000

Filed under Metal Related


1. Paint The Picture (7:03)
2. Rough Draft (6:14)
3. What To Say (4:19)
4. Bite My Tongue (5:41)
5. Colors Fade (5:25)
6. Juggling Knives (5:03)
7. Black Eyes And Broken Glass (4:33)
8. Elyse (5:47)
9. Shell Of A Man (6:01)
10. Broken Wave (5:23)
11. Traces (7:19)
12. Know That (1:27)

Total Time: 64:22


- Douglas Ott / guitars
- Ted Leonard / vocals
- Paul Craddick / drums
- Mike Geimer / keyboards
- Ed Platt / bass

About this release

October 3, 2000[
Inside Out

Thanks to Lynx33 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

As far as I am concerned, Enchant’s 5th full-length album is the pinnacle of their discography. The upward trajectory had already started with the previous album Break, where the US band had managed to find a more personal sound, blending together elements from classic progressive rock, prog metal and AOR / maninstream rock in a way that set them apart from other similar prog bands: Enchant felt less cerebral than Spock’s Beard, less heavy than Dream Theater, but proggier than Kansas. On Juggling 9 or Dropping 10, the band further develop those aesthetics, enhancing the weight of each component while at the same time perfecting the balance between them.

The album is proggier than Break, not so much in terms of the amount of technical extravaganza included in each song, but in the adventurousness of the songwriting. While the songs never get overly complex, their structure is dilated with numerous instrumental breaks and detours. These can get quite wild and exciting, such as the flamenco interjection in the middle of “Bite My Tongue”. Elsewhere Doug Ott’s jittery guitar riffs duel with melodic bass lines and keyboard leads, while Paul Craddick’s drum patterns strike a perfect balance between groove and nuance. At times, dissonances and unusual harmonic developments are used, sparsely and with great effect. Some of the arrangements reminded me of Spock’s Beard – with which Enchant had toured in the previous year -, but Enchant maintain a more accessible and streamlined approach than Spock’s.

The accessibility and memorability of the compositions is where Juggling 9 or Dropping 10 makes big strides forward compared to Break. The quality of the melodies has improved a lot since the previous album. We are still not exactly in the domain of ear-worming hooks, as Ted Leonard’s vocal lines generally follow more nuanced and elusive contours than what would quality as straight poppy ear-candy. But some of the hooks here are rather infectious, particularly in “Bite My Tongue”, “Juggling Knives” and “What to Say”, which is easily the best song Enchant have written throughout their career. What makes the song truly special is also the deep and highly emotional subject matter – about incurable illness and the awareness that the day you have to say goodbye to your loved ones is drawing nearer. Ted Leonard’s interpretation is simply spellbinding and goosebumps are guaranteed by the time you reach the end of the track.

While “What to Say” is undoubtedly the high point of the record, both emotionally and sonically, several other songs leave a strong mark on the listener, making Juggling 9 or Dropping 10 the most consistent album of the band. There are no fillers or duds here, except perhaps “Elyse” which feels slightly bland in comparison to the other tracks. One may raise issues with the fact that many of the songs tend to feature similar tempos, structures and moods (with many exploring the same theme of illness). This is a characteristic that Juggling 9 or Dropping 10 share with many other Enchant’s albums and it is probably one of the limits of the US band. A tad more variation in the songwriting could have probably elevated this and other albums even further.

Despite these minor issues, Juggling 9 or Dropping 10 is where everything fell perfectly into place for Enchant. Inspired songwriting, classy arrangements, top-notch musicianship and some of the best melodies written by the band make this album a must-have for any progressive rock or metal fan. The rest of the band’s discography is also worth exploring, but Juggling 9 or Dropping 10 is the place to start if you are new to this band.
On the Break album, Enchant gambled with a shift in their style, incorporating the atmosphere and aesthetics of late-1990s melodic alt-rock whilst retaining the prog compositional approach that they'd followed from the start, yielding a refreshed sound which they were able to take on the road supporting Spock's Beard and Marillion.

Juggling 9 Or Dropping 10 finds the group continuing in this direction, though with perhaps a bit more willingness to incorporate more overtly prog flourishes here and there, such as the keyboard contributions on Paint the Picture. With songs like Bite My Tongue still rooted in a guitar-oriented heavy melodic rock style, those who enjoyed Break will find this to be an apt followup, whilst those into the band's earlier neo-prog works will be reassured to hear the prog influence still there and present in their music.

In particular, as much as Enchant's sound changed over the course of their first five albums, there was a certain Rush influence which remained constant, even if they'd take different lessons from Rush's sound as their career progressed. One may also catch flickers of Dream Theater, Spock's Beard, or 1990s-era Marillion here and there, which just underlines how apt a choice of support act Enchant were for those groups.

On the whole, I would rank this just a shade below Break, which I think has the benefit of novelty going for it; here the band seem to be trying to milk more out of the same general sound, but could perhaps do with trimming the album back a bit - this came from that period in the late 1990s and early 2000s when everyone was trying to put out albums of at least an hour long, but I think if this were trimmed back to a tight 50 minutes or so it'd be a stronger release. Then again, challenge me to pick which 15 minutes I'd trim and I'd probably struggle, which is testimony to the consistency the group are able to attain.

Members reviews

Enchant’s Juggling 9 Or Dropping 10 was my second encounter to the band. Again, I was immediately floored the first time I got into the opening track “Paint The Picture”, especially the guitar solo part starting approximately at 4:15 minute. I could die just listening to that solo part. Another I-just-could-die moment is during “Colors Fade”, a Rush-y melodic track that would be able to make you sit down and recollect your old memories, some memories that may have forgotten. Yes, you got it correct from my narratives, this is my favorite track of the album.

Although I think this record has some fillers in it (“Black Eyes & Broken Glass” and Shell of A Man” to name two), it has some memorable moments as well and periodically played in my portable mp3 player. Other highlight tracks of the album are the somewhat funky “Juggling Knives”, the ballad “What To Say”, and the melodic “Broken Wave”.

Again, another very much recommended output from Enchant. There is not much skills showing-off or odd-time signature changes, but it’s the delivered melody that you can’t just resist it.

Ratings only

  • The T 666
  • theaterd
  • Colt
  • aecht
  • stefanbedna
  • adg211288
  • Fernandi
  • Lynx33
  • Anster
  • sauromat

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