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This record is strange indeed.
"For this very moment
I free my pain,
Images of bliss,
You will have to show me
My inner despite,
You will have to lead me inside"
These lyrics summarize the tone of the record; a moving, melancholy performance that seems to explore the depths of emotion rather than dwell on the effects of it. But that's not all; inspired by Medieval music it's no surprise that there's an element of historical mystery to this record. The subject matter isn't always clear, but this adds to the shroud of enchantment surrounding the music.
Enid call themselves symphonic black metal with medieval influences, but there's more to this music than that. It's one of the most dualistic records I think I've ever heard. The harsh and clean vocals are so drastically different that it almost sounds like a completely different band, and this is only accentuated by the sharp contrast in musical style.
The opening track, of which the lyrics are posted above, is sung in a clean style; very mellow, and soft. This is often the sound of the instrumentation when the lyrics are clean. Furthermore, the clean lyrics are very smooth and almost sound like Gregorian chant. It reminds me extraordinarily of Virgin Black, especially because of the opposing styles. Rather than symphonic black metal with medieval influences, I'd call Enid a mix of symphonic black metal with gothic metal (very similar to Virgin Black). That said, Enid is very epic symphonic black/gothic metal. The clean vocals are used frequently and effectively, and the melodies are beautiful and soaring.
With all this in mind, the remainder of the album proves interesting and beautiful as well. The songs flow meaningfully and coherently, and the result is a convincing and entertaining bit of melodic symphonic metal. There is variety among the tracks as well. “The Forbidden Site” provides a track of almost entirely harsh black metal vocals (except for a few choral sections), and features some epic instrumental work. “The Forbidden Site” follows “And Soon Will Fall the Days…” which is comprised entirely of clean vocals, demonstrating once again the schizophrenic nature of the album.
"We are the essence of the world beyond perception..."
With lyrics like these, it's fair to say that the subject matter of the album remains elusive. Clearly inspired by spiritual and mystical elements, Enid composes their music to reflect this material. There are fantastical topics here, and the music only helps to enhance this journey through enchanted lands and histories.
The dynamics add to the epic and dualistic structure of the record. A song may be gently lulling along, hypnotizing the listener with the Gregorian clean vocals, and then suddenly explode into a madness of screaming and heaviness. The compositions are done creatively and interestingly, and the music is majestic throughout.
This album is not for everyone, and definitely requires patience to appreciate. At times it moves slowly, but these moments may be forgiven in light of most of the album. This is very unique symphonic black/gothic metal, and very musically creative. Fans of Virgin Black will enjoy.