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Enchantment – Stone Cold Embrace Award winner

Enchantment
Stone Cold Embrace
by Gary Hernandez at 14 August 2022, 9:31 PM

In 1994 the UK Doom/Death scene was taking deep root. Bands like PARADISE LOST, ANATHEMA, and MY DYING BRIDE were expanding, infusing elements of Doom, Gothic, and Prog. Amongst that mix was ENCHANMENT. The band originally formed in 1991, signed a six-album deal with Century Media, released one album, and disbanded. And that’s how it goes at the rock ‘n’ roll show . . . until some 25 plus years later when the band’s debut album was reissued on Transcending Records to the sound of much rejoicing. The band took note, regrouped, dug up what remained of their written but not recorded sophomore album, and went to work. Thirty-one years after this journey began, ENCHANMENT released their long overdue, second full-length album, “Cold Soul Embrace,” on June 24, 2022.

Based on the band’s name and the album cover, I was expecting Symphonic or at least Goth. The cover depicts a woman in a ballet dress and shoes chained to a cinderblock at the bottom of a large body of water with her serene face upwards, eyes closed. When I listened to the album, I did get a bit of Goth, but only about .01% Symph. So that was a surprise. More surprising still wasn’t the subgenre but rather how good this band is. My thinking was that 25 years on this would be some blokes trying to regain their glory days. Yeah, missed the mark on that one. First, there has on only been one lineup change—drummer Aiden Bladwin replacing Chris Sanders. Second, and more importantly, this band picked up all the good stuff from their 1995 trajectory and cleaned up the bad bits—in short, some strong evolution here.

In short order, compared to their 1994 release ENCHANTMENT’s vocals are stronger, their melodies more sophisticated, their riffs more crushing, their compositions both visceral and complex. Lyrically, who knows—couldn’t make out a word—but that’s just my old, concert-beat ears. Altogether though, whereas ENCHANTMENT’s debut had promise, this second album delivers on that promise in spades.

The album kicks off with the longest track first, “As Greed as the Eye Beholds.” With that much sonic real estate, you expect a multi-layered, multi-movement composition—and that’s what you get. This single track showcases all aspects of the band in a single go. A great opener. As good as the first track is, it’s the second track with will cause you to put down your beer and sit up straight. Sweetly titled, “A Swanlike Duet” pretty much ties you up and abuses you—but in a good way. And that kind of captures the ethos of this entire album. It catches you by surprise at every turn from the production values, which are excellent, to the songwriting to the precision execution. Quite frankly, I am shocked these lads picked it up after 25 years and just killed it.

Other standout tracks include “Painting amongst the Feathers,” “The Beauty of Liars,” and the final track, “One Jump of the Sun” which, like the opening track, is another multi-layered work. I should also mention that “The Beauty of Liars” isn’t just good, it’s massive. There is a recurring motif they strip down and serve up six ways from Sunday, and each time it just crushes your soul a little more. But, again, in that good way. The last two minute of this track are like a lost two minutes of “Blackwater Park.”

ENCHANTMENT. “Cold Soul Embrace.” Was not expecting that. Wow. And thank you. This is a must have. I am a little sad to think about what the band could have done in those lapsed years, but also very excited to about what’s to come now that they have reformed. In the meanwhile, I’m also digging the hell out of this album.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1.  As Greed as the Eye
2.  A Swanlike Duet
3.  Painting Amongst the Feathers
4.  Of Glorious Vistas Forgot
5.  The Wake of the Hollering Tide
6.  In a Cello-Felt Glare
7.  The Beauty of Liars
8.  One Jump of the Sun
Lineup:
Mark Tierney – Bass, guitars (acoustic), keyboards
Marc Gibson – Guitars
Steve Blackmore – Guitars
Paul Jones – Vocals
Aiden Baldwin – Drums
Record Label: Cosmic Key Creations and Transcending Records
     


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Edited 28 September 2022
 

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