If there was triumvirate of seminal American melodic progressive rock bands at the turn of this century, it was likely Spock's Beard, Dream Theater and, the band we consider today, Enchant. From the San Francisco bay area, Enchant has been of the radar for the best of a decade. The Great Divide marks their return and their first studio album in eleven years.
While the lapse has been long, largely due to engulfing personal matters of band members, The Great Divide is a return to form. Actually, in the very best sense, the music sounds like a page from the past or, perhaps better, another chapter in a book that has never closed. Enchant's familiar themes of melodic, lightly complex, compositions, strong doses of guitar and keyboards, and straightforward harmonious vocal arrangements are once more self-evident.
One of the characteristics that has always impressed about Enchant is their ability to dovetail the sharpness and heaviness common to progressive metal with this inherent gentleness. It's an odd relationship to explain, but easily found within The Great Divide, Here and Now and, possibly more so, with Prognosticator. That song has some strong riffs and a deep bass line, pushing the band more towards the heaviness that Dream Theater can pursue, but not nearly as 'metal' as, say, Symphony X. Sometimes a song can sound like a merger between prog and AOR melodic rock like Life In A Shadow, thanks to the smooth vocal arrangement and more than subtle rock groove. All Mixed Up picks up on that groove somewhat but is more a curiosity. It's heavy, with this marching tempo starting the song and introducing the chorus, only to move into a lighter movement. This, in turn, builds to the bring back the heavy refrain. Besides the lyrical concept, maybe the music has something to say about the title.
In the end, The Great Divide is rather interesting and entertaining melodic progressive rock, a bit edgier at times. While the two aforementioned bands won't be releasing something new this year, you can fill your prog rock void with Enchant's The Great Divide. Recommended.
Enchant's The Great Divide is rather interesting and entertaining melodic progressive rock, a bit edgier at times.
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