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Anyone who is familiar with Enid's previous albums, probably know about their interesting medieval and symphonic take on Black Metal. I would say this album represents everything that Enid has worked for thus far, and brings out styles that I would have never thought I would hear on an Enid album. Enid take us on a much less aggressive, but more stylized journey this time around.
Of course this is still a metal album by the way. This album surly deserves some praise for its metal compositions such as the title track, and the symphonic influence found throughout. You just never really know what to expect, which is what kept my interest. Martin Wiese's voice maybe something you will have to get used to, but the harmonies (like on the previous albums) shine oh-so bright. The harmonies of Martin Wies are just beautiful on this album. Although his previous album "Seelenspiegel" had plenty of choral parts, it also demonstrated Martins black metal voice. This album however is mostly a mix between operatic male vocals, harmonies and just clear singing.
Veteran fans of Enid should really embrace this change, as this album will probably go by as somewhat of a lost gem of experimental/avant-garde. It seems that Enid simply wanted to change. To lower the aggression this time around, and delve deeper into the experimentation already established on their previous records.
The only little complaint I have is "Die Seelensteine." Its over fifteen minutes long and comprised of somewhat repetitive songwriting. although it sure kept my attention for a few minutes, it simply dragged on too much. Besides that, metal fans with an open mind should give it a listen. This is truly a gem that isn't the easiest album to find, but an album that sure won't disappoint those with broad musical tastes, and those who would like to hear the more progressive side of metal.
This album screams potential, I just hope these guys plan on releasing a new album, as it seems to be rather difficult getting any information about this group.
On the album Gradwanderer, Enid do much to prove themselves as magnificent composers of a unique hybrid of thrash, opera and classical music, bringing to life a bold new sound that is heavier more reliant on traditional metal themes than Apocalyptica, yet no less adventurous and enlightening.
Martin Wiese has some excellent vocal skills, running through scales with his voice that show he is a singer who has undergone some intensive training. “Chimera” ignites this record with eerie melodies and tuneful piano movements. On “An Ode To The Forlorn”, Enid takes cues from thrash while using atmospheric song parts that manifest a diverse dynamic that shows the group to be composers who have thought this music through very well. The percussive elements during this songs lengthy break are abstract and leave the listener wondering as to what may happen next.
Wiese has a distinct vocal tone that is engaging, yet an acquired taste. Once the listener warms to his style, however, a new light is cast upon his creation that reflects the depth of his musical ability and the proficient nature of his art. The title track is a grand score which includes trumpets, melodious keys and amazingly, blasting rhythms courtesy of Jens „Southie“ Basfeld, who provides more than capable bass guitars and Boltthorn, who attacks his parts with the ferocity of Hellhammer. A truly moody piece, “Gradwanderer runs the gamut of emotive substance, resulting in an engaging, if challenging listen. Guitarist Patrick Damiani injects Bodom-like scales as Wiese sings in his native tongue over the groups crunching rhythm break.
“When The Last Glow Flies” is eclectic and provoking and “The Burning Of The Sea” features some excellent scat and four part harmonies before lapsing 12 bar blues of the type that you might hear in a demented Amsterdam cabaret. But certainly the most interesting piece on the entire record is the nearly sixteen minute “Die Seelensteine” which once again, provides the listener with a variety of aural textures ranging from angelic piano movements to bold acoustic passages. This track is the least metal of all songs on the record, but also the most artistic, reminiscent of a mini German opera and displays a large amount of creative ability.
In the final analysis, Enid is only for the most adventurous of listeners. “Gradwanderer” is certainly not for everyone, but if you enjoy music with a wide range of texture and dramatic instrumentation, this effort is worthy of your attention.