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Enchant - "Tug Of War"
Inside Out 2003

"Hi there!" Okay I've started with an opening verse of Peter Gabriel's Big Time song. And all Enchant fans surely have their big time. They praise this record because they got from the band what they've requested. What's next? Bill Jenkins was drafted as keyboarder! And he is exactly what Enchant, newly reformed again as five pieced band, needed.

Only one year passed since band's last output "Blink Of An Eye" and here they go again. Predecessor was carrying more heaviness and songs were structured a bit tighter. Strongest link between "Tug Of War" and "Blink Of An Eye", when having in mind tightness, is Long Way Down. Now, after Enchant recruited new keyboarder Bill Jenkins, all instruments plus Ted's vocals, play equal roles in band's musical expression. "Tug Of War" surprisingly opens with subtle gentle piece Sinking Sand. Opener captures amazing high atmosphere. Great contrast is achieved between Ted's unique vocals and his soulful approach on one hand and keyboard work plus high dynamics of rhythm line on the other. Atmosphere in song constantly increases and reaches highest peak at the instrumental end when Doug lays down his (second) beautiful guitar solo. Following title track starts the fire in heavier gear.

Sound is hanging in balance. Production covers wider sound range in comparison with "Blink Of An Eye", because of constant involvement of keyboards. Entire album contains highly active rhythm line that surprises all the time with unpredictable bridge breaks and rhythm changes. Contrast between rhythm line and first line (guitar/keys plus Ted's irreplaceable singing, feel his soulfulness and subtle approach in acoustic half ballad Beautiful) is specially magnified for example in Hold The Wind. Song is typically "enchantized" with middle section, where band explodes inside bravely puzzled diverse hooks, rhythm and mood changes that all together raise shivering atmosphere. Doug assembled all loops, solos, riffs with pure "feel" involvement. He never forces his musical knowledge by "loosing" himself among hundreds of notes or bars and cleverly adapts all the way to the structures of songs. And as I am talking about Doug's performance, it is actually all members who are playing gutsy all the way. Sean is not strictly sticking to the snare drum, but constantly searches for more creative room and breathing space inside chosen motives. That chemistry simply works is nothing new. Band's line up became tighter than ever ("Guys, what about releasing double live album next time?"). Instrumental piece Progtology with some "human voice" effect on keys, captures at its final motive Queensryche's "Operation: Mindcrime" era feel because of the rhythm drive and the way how snare drum sounds.

Some of you might be able to feel that music is falling apart. Main reason is the way how middle instrumental sections of songs are assembled. They blows heads and tails built with choruses and pre-choruses and Ted's singing. Instrumental parts are lost in time and space. They have no shape. And this is why Enchant are so fascinating creation.

Now, you're surely asking, from where the hell I invented this one? Music penetrates slowly under the skin but when it reaches its goal, new Enchant CD will stuck inside your CD players. It constantly rolls...and of course rocks inside mine CD player and the effect of "falling apart" effect is? Music simply doesn't want to restore inside my brain's memory. It has the same effect as a book you are able to read endlessly. Enchant do not use cliché frames when assembling their music. They let ideas to flow freely. You can't predict what they're up to, yet everything fits together on a best possible way. It is very hard to achieve a point of certain musical expression when effect of music that is meant to fell apart, fully convince. Enchant did it with "Tug Of War". And for all who might still wonder how much music they can get for "one CD" money investment, I can simply answer. This music is invaluable. Magic it holds was once handled with supremacy by Yes (especially "Tales From The Topographic Oceans" songs) or King Crimson's early seventies era. This "fell apart" attribute in "Tug Of War" case is so intense that Enchant music provides an "astral traveler" (ethereal) effect. Can you still follow me? Vibrations of this music can lead you to the point when you are able to leave your ego (rational way of thinking) and enter the divine wings of eternal love and freedom by switching your physical body for astral one. Tragically, we forgot to live that way (why do you think old Egyptians were able to move that massive rocks for pyramids they've created). This music offers much more than meets the eye. And this review actually means nothing with the power of phenomena called Enchant. You can't fight with raw rational analysis that tries to hammer down this music into material world (my review) against the grand magic of cosmic powers it possesses.

Enchant are holding to the musical style that is distinctly their own. New album deserves to be called masterpiece. It provides sincere soulful vibrations. It offers high class crisp and clean production. Fluid motives inside songs are perfectly glued together and record's dynamic is waving alive all the way. This also concerns for all sort of different moods it captures. If you are curious in finding out how Enchant sounds alive on stage, than try to get limited edition (with slipcase). It contains live version of "Wounded" piece Below Zero. It is played much faster in comparison with original studio version, yet still hellish precise. It is shame that only a minority of entire human mass is aware of underrated beauty called Enchant. This music undoubtedly deserves more respect and stronger support.

Author:   Ale¹

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