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Enbound - 2011 And She Says Gold



ARTIST: Enbound
ALBUM: And She Says Gold
LABEL: Inner Wound Recordings
SERIAL: IW83012
YEAR: 2011
SPONSOR: S Eder

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Lee Hunter - vocals * Swede - bass * Mike Cameron Force - drums * Marvin Flowberg - guitars

TRACK LISTING: 01 Combined The Souls * 02 Descending * 03 Noiseless Bullet * 04 Squeals Of War * 05 Frozen To Be * 06 Under A Spell * 07 Untitled X * 08 I Am Lost To You * 09 Shifting Gears * 10 Love Has Come * 11 The Broken Heart * 12 Running Free * 13 Me And Desire * 14 Beat It (M Jackson cover, European bonus track)

RATING:

WEBLINKS: www.enbound.com


Background
All that glitters is not gold? Well the thought of mixing power metal with a large dose of melodic potential ticks all the right boxes with me. However many have tried, with varying degrees of success, in the winners camp you have to say the likes of Avantasia and Sonata Arctica, while many others have failed, seemingly to run out of ideas over the course of an hour. The added ingredient that Enbound has though is the inclusion in their ranks of the exceptional singer Lee Hunter, better known as Lars Säfsund, from AOR giants Work Of Art. Well you can imagine the thought of this had me giggling like a girl, wearing a pink blouse, maybe too much information? I suppose the first opinion from many die-cast AORsters might see this as a missed opportunity and wrongly compare this to Work Of Art. Well don't get mislead into going down that path, as I understand a new opus from that trio is due out sometime this year. Don't get me wrong, this has moments of AOR, just with blasters attached to it. Lars shows he has the ability to enter other genres and this release will only open eyes and ears to how a group can deliver a quality melodic, powerful rock album diving through different genres and bringing to the surface bonafide pearls, provided by high class musicians and songwriters. If you have seen the pictures, they have tried to step sideways from the crowd, yes the gold and black paintwork may not be a long term costume plan, by hell it gets their foot in the door, and as Easter approaches Enbound could well bring a golden resurrection to the world of melodic power metal just when the world was wanting. Or with a slight change to the motto of another great team (Wolverhampton Wanderers.. believe me the great is under question at the moment on the football front) that also play in the gold and black, 'Out of the Darkness Cometh Enbound'.





The Songs
We leap into a Kamelot opening, few technical guitar flurries in the first minute of play. But rather than settling into the feeling of what you would expect over the next 70 minutes, a warning - this is not just another prog metal or power metal fest. With 'Combined The Souls' they have managed to mix widespread melody on all aspects of the opening. The chorus is delicious, the verses peppered with memorable touches, and it has you hoping for big things. Are they setting themselves up for a fall? It's a type of song that I would hear 30 seconds off on a snippet from say Amazon and be hurriedly ordering straight away, no two ways about it.

It's definitely apparent as early as the second number 'Descending' that this is not just a typical power metal album. The music follows the melodic power instead of fighting against it, so it just flows some much significantly better. Here Enbound managed to coax in an AOR chorus into a tight spot left by a shower of keyboards and storming guitars, magnificent.

Put the silencers on for 'Noiseless Bullet', again a simple thoughtful opening, Roy Bittan (Meat Loaf), style piano touches, with another melodic, passionate pre chorus. No need for screaming, the speed changes gear without you noticing it, rather than typical chopping and changing like so many prog metal merchants. This is becoming melodic rock with qualifications, doctor of science level rather than just a student. More akin to Talisman and Midnight Sun.

It's only till we get to 'Squeals Of War' with the somewhat more technical opening, may have you thinking it is time to concentrate hard on another difficult prog metal exercise, but again it changes with melodic mature vocal interplay by Lars Säfsund and develops into a whole more pleasing listening experience. Guitar melodies mix well to complete the overall nature of the tune, rather than being the domineering force, even adding some Hammerfall gang vocals. The keyboards added by main song writing and supremo, Mike Cameron Force, providing some atmosphere while the guitar, by wiz kid Marvin Flowberg do a nice bit of chugging. All performed soundly.

'Frozen To Be' sees the introduction of LaGaylia Frazier providing a fine vocal display and somewhat surprisingly up pops a ballad. Well constructed using acoustic guitar to compliment a well rounded vocal duo, before building a wall of guitar streaming down in the background. Equal to anything produced by more AOR centred musicians. Well placed in the overall listening experience.

A Grand Illusion vocal opening to 'Under The Spell', before entering a 'deep dark forest' which has my thinking of pre The Poodles being the underrated The Ring (worth checking out). Instant gratification here for your melodic tendencies, even shades of Dio, just in some of Lars pronunciations, he very much adds a bit of bite.

'Untitled X', has a sweep of keyboards with that familiar chugging guitar overlaid with melodic vocals, massaging your ears once again, providing the oil from another great chorus. During this composition the introduction for the first time some special effects, as the chorus and verses get merged to a symphony, not X Rated, this should be appreciate by all.

'I Am Lost To You', on first inspection you would be thinking a ballad, but think again as another fine attempt of merging technical musicianship with melodic overtones. Talking the melodic inspiration from Bloodbound the technique of Symphony X, and the power of Evergrey it can be difficult to achieve but not for these boys. Never at any time are performances forced, they just flow. The chorus is prime time Bad Habit and Alien and rather than the song fading out, the melodic pulse of the song is held onto and repeated, just add any voice, another riff, another repeat multiplied just to ram it home, delightful. This structure is continued with' Shifting Gears', which does tend to have more speed value but Lars voice never sounds strained, very much Vision Divine and Killing Touch, but never lose sight of the use of Lars soften vibes, even when they add some Metallica style rifforama.

So as we are nearing the end, do Enbound offer anything different? Well rather than diverting from the straight and narrow, they continue just to add little twists, for instance 'Love Has Come' has the added extra of a mandolin, but you find it is probably a more straight ahead melodic rock tune, not really another power metal thumping, which I haven't got a problem with, nice to see the confidence to ply their trade across a number of genres, even with the David Coverdale vocal finish.

Continuing evolving is the key as 'The Broken Heart', adds violin, piano, acoustic, the listeners ears are gently caressed by Lars vocals, plus with the cello, it's up there with one of favourite ballads, being Kamelot's 'Glory'off their 1999 release,' The Fourth Legacy'. Providing a dreamlike scenario, quest for excellence being accomplished.

Hitting your senses one after another comes 'Running Free', not a cover, that's for later, probably more progressive metal; I just love it when they use that keyboard scamper during the chorus. Vocal wise Lars manages again to provide the right performance for when the need arises, more aggression, sweeping down to melodic tones, always admirably accompanied by the guitarist, very special indeed. Surprising after climbing the rocky headland, it mellows out to reach a plateaux before coming to the end.

Finishing the self-penned composition is ' Me And Desire', again hitting on Kamelot, even Nightwish, before another melodic spin on the chorus. To end we have a Michael Jackson cover of 'Beat It', and essentially a great choice, but to me the best cover of a Jackson song is 'Billie Jean', the slowed down version by Chris Cornell, just like the way Thin Lizzy used to perform the alternative version of 'Don't Believe A Word', anyway a great way to finish.


In Summary
In the interviews I have read, the guys seem quite guarded on their influences, while critics are left desperately looking for comparisons, but if they carry on releasing albums of this quality then many a critic will be quoting Enbound as an influence rather than just a comparison in describing the latest flames. Enbound never look to over complicate matters, the songs are easy to devour and they have concentrated on delivery of each individual tune, rather than linking them together thinly disguised as a concept of a full blown symphony or 'metal opera' being the term assigned to these dramatic pieces. In the end the album benefits from this as does the listener, as such pieces are essentially very hard to deliver, although in the future I wouldn't bet against them having a go and succeeding. You are left with an intrepid experience of music. Gold? Oh yes 24 carat!


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Comments
#1 | Eric on April 19 2011 11:30:27
Holy Judas Jump!

[img]http://gdm.glorydazemusic.com/images/reviews/judasjump_s.jpg[/img] is not a valid Image.
#2 | gdazegod on February 14 2017 22:40:53
How about this visual monstrosity from the recent 2017 Grammy Awards. Rap artists Cee Lo Green.

[img]http://gdm.glorydazemusic.com/infusions/images/reviews/celogreen.png[/img] is not a valid Image.
 
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