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Enbound: The Blackened Heart
Enbound The Blackened Heart CD Album Review

Enbound: The Blackened Heart

Melodic/Heavy/Power Metal
4.0/5.0

Swedish band Enbound hit the ground running five years ago with their debut album And She Says Gold. The four piece impressed more than a few fans and critics, including myself, with their rich blend of melodic hard rock with a metal edge within an AOR wrapper. Yet with their latest and second album, The Blackened Heart, things seem to have changed. But is change good?

Enbound Band Photo

Enbound

This version of Enbound is much heavier than the earlier one. Whereas hard rock seemed to be at the core of their earlier sound, now melodic heavy metal comes front and center. And that AOR wrapper? Well, it's not that it's not there. It's just getting bitch-slapped by the more intense riffage and heavier bottom end. Many songs, thanks to the aforementioned barrage of riffage and the fast pacing liken more to power metal. Good examples include Give Me Light, Get Ready For, and Feel My Flame, which finds the ubiquitous Mike LePond of Symphony X delivering two bass solos. Even when Enbound tries to trip you up with a softer start as with HIO, the song quickly booms with riffage and thundering bass.

The good thing in all this is two-fold. One, and I'm kind of surprised, vocalist Lee Hunter (nee Lars Safsund), of Work Of Art fame, holds his own in this blistering atmosphere. The vocal arrangements continue to be beacons of meticulous harmony. Second, guitar virtuoso Marvin Flowberg pulls of some killer guitar solos, both inspired and soaring. To be fair, there is one softer number, the ballad, The Don't Really Know with mostly piano, acoustic guitar, and voice. But it does manage to rise in crescendo in the last few minutes.

When I first came to this new album, my first question was, Will it be as good as the first? But the comparison is unfair. It's nearly apples and oranges. The Blackened Heart is Enbound shifting into heavy melodic and power metal mode. It's different, but I still liked it. Recommended.

Enbound - Give Me Light


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The Bottom Line

When I first came to this new album, my first question was, Will it be as good as the first? But the comparison is unfair. It's nearly apples and oranges. The Blackened Heart is Enbound shifting into heavy melodic and power metal mode. It's different, but I still liked it. Recommended.

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