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A Genre Personified - 84%

DeathRiderDoom, April 13th, 2011

Enchanter is a progressive/power metal metal band from the 80s great lakes region that included such contemporaries as Damien, Thruster, & Axemaster. Trouble is, with a name like Enchanter, it's hard to really make an impression, names like this, shared with so many others tend to confuse epople and scare people off. A crying shame indeed, as Enchanter proves in this compilation, featuring their demo works from their heydey, in all its powerful Fates Warning-ish, metallic fury. The good folks at Arkeyn Steel have made it their profession to seek out these classic gems and reissue them for the world's hungry, USPM-hungry populace. What results is a killer 10 track assault on the listener that cannot disappoint. High caliber porgrssive power metal here with little to no criticisms being available.

The biggest point of comparison here is of corse Fates Warning, Enchanter forgoing the usual brute steel methods commonplace amongst the Michigan/Ohio bands, and opting for a pondering, contemplative, white collar, soaring brand of power metal drenched in lush melodies, slow deliberate melody sections, interlaced with all out furious moments. Classic songs from the band like 'Backoned with the Call' run this gamit quite definitively - evoking a sense of strong passion, urgency and beauty. Another classic hit, the title track, 'Defenders of the Realm', features some snarling, soaring deliveries from Brian Osborne, mated to fast, crushing riffs. Enchanter offers deep lyrics, some delicate guitar passages in the progressive style, and moments of wrought iron fury, balanced with slow sombre clean sections - such as in 'Ethereal Quarter'.

'Ethereal Quarter' is actually (Along with 'Keepers of the Dawn' and 'Tomb of the Unknown Sodier') one one my favourite numbers on the whole record, a mastercrafted, delicately prepared piece of epic heavy metal, that showcases some real assiduous and dynamic vocal work. It evokes emotion, which as you know is a key attribute of solid US power metal. 'Imaginary Throne' delivers with crunching riffs, while Osborne offers up Geoff Tate-ish high pitched vocal work, before epic solos soar over pounding, militaristic drums, in a symphonic orgy. Coupled with the epic imagery, (particularly the spoken word section), this one is a classic progressive power metal track. The brooding, surrealistic fantasy air of the tracks isn't bereft of thunderous riffs, however, as this track in particular features some heavy stuff in this regard.

After many listens to this compilation work, the first work i had heard from Enchanter, i have nothing but respect for the band. The band's style of music is certainly sure to please all but the most pompous, conceited listeners, and is a real treat on the ears. It should appeal especially to fans of Fates Warning, but also Queensryche, Glacier, Siren, Halifax, Invid, Angellic Rage and the like. The songs are quite rough in style, and in their demo original production, which might turn some off, given the genre, but it really doesn't phase me at all. While you might not put it quite up there with Crimson Glory's debut, it is still grandiose progressive metal, with great guitars and showcasing an overall talent for songcraftmanship. It doesn't really lack in anything but production value, but as a collection of old demos, that's really a non-issue here. A classic work of the genre.