Enchant – The Great Divide – 9/10
-Finally! The First new Enchant album in 11 years! I have anxiously awaited this album because singer Ted Leonard is one of my favorite vocalists of all time. True, during that time he has released albums with Thought Chamber and Spock’s Beard, but I wanted to hear him release one with Enchant because I think that’s where his voice truly shines the most. The songwriting feels like it is built around his vocals, rather than those other bands where the progressive moments make it feel like the vocals were the last thing to be added in. Enchant has always been a progressive band who could release the most beautiful and emotional ballads while still having the ability to include progressive elements in their pop vocal style and uplifting songwriting. Some songs in the past have definitely felt like they deserve some airplay on the radio. Interestingly enough, this album feels like Ted brought his experience from his other two bands back with him, because the end result feels like the songs are more technical than usual. The album is 8 track combining to almost an hour. 6 songs are around the 8 minute mark and a pair of songs are closer to the 5 minute mark. However, Enchant is able to balance the progressive side of things with beautiful and catchy melodies like always. The songs do not suffer from losing the main idea, as a lot of long progressive rock songs tend to. Instead of making us forget about the whole point of the songs with all the instrumental portions showing off, the ideas are sidetracked for a little bit with new melodies and ideas that enhance the old ones, especially when you eventually return to them at the end. There is a great mix of funk riffs, slapped bass, uplifting guitar lines solos, uplifting vocal melodies, and beautiful vocal harmonies. Hard to believe that there was an 11 year gap between this album and Tug of War. That is definitely the sign of a great band. They were able start it up all over again much like other great recent releases after long gaps such as Darkness in a Different Light by Fates Warning last year. It really picks up exactly where Enchant left off with albums like Tug of War or Blink of An Eye (my two favorite albums by them and two of my favorite progressive rock albums period). They take the strong songwriting from those albums and put it more in the face of the audience (but not obnoxiously), which is where I think the influence from Spock’s Beard and Thought Chamber have come in. The songs on this album have more ambitious and technical bridges and interludes than ever before with complex riffs and time signatures between the typical song structures. Because of this, I think the new approach will benefit them in the long run as these new songs will create some great diversity with the old ones when they decide to go on tour.