Enchant - Tug Of War

Year of Release: 2003
Label: InsideOut Music
Catalog Number: IOMCD 131/SPV 085-65812
Format: CD
Total Time: 66:27:00

Tug Of War Wasn't that the title of a long forgotten Paul McCartney album? Sure it was, and as is the case with Sir Paul's material, Enchant have once again emphasized the true skill of songwriting, making sure strong melodies prevail. As the band describes themselves as a musical "sponge," for sure they once again absorb a multitude of influences, yet they once again blend them into something that is unmistakably Enchant. "Sinking Sand" opens in a fusiony kind of way, but once the unique voice of Ted Leonard enters the arena, adding his Steve Walsh element to the music, it's Enchant all over again. I especially like the softer passages where the vocal harmonies fully shine! When you carefully dissect an Enchant composition, you become aware that these guys know how a studio works, what can be achieved and how a song should be built in order to stand out when compared to other bands. The balance between the instruments is perfect, giving the necessary room for solos when the time is right, such as the synth right at the end of the title track. Although singer Ted Leonard might one day be the ideal replacement should James LaBrie decide to leave Dream Theater, Enchant continuously "holds its horses" when it comes to delivering really powerful songs and blasting solos. The band continues to aim for the perfect song structure, thus putting all freaky technical solos to one side. This results in some of their work to sometimes sound like good honest AOR, as during "Beautiful."

We all know that live Enchant does indeed sound much harder, much louder than on record, but once again Ed Platt's bass playing sounds ever so clear and powerful on this disc. So beware when they take this material on the road! I sincerely hope the balance between the instruments will still be OK because on Tug Of War the interventions of keyboard player Bill Jenkins are well placed, but played in a rather subtle way. The moment guitar, bass or drums become too loud, all that subtlety will be totally gone. But here, thank god, we still have all of the band's latest output on CD, which means the mix is done in order to let all the instruments shine equally. "Progtology" is a great instrumental where guitar and keys interact. Pity Jenkins didn't use a real Mellotron to evoke the choir parts. Platt also sees the possibility to display his marvellous technique on bass. The spine that runs through "Comatose" certainly has to be Jenkins' piano, but I don't understand why, for these important sessions, he doesn't use an authentic grand piano, as the dynamics and warmth of such an instrument would sound so much better.

Enchant keeps on delivering album after album with the same level of maturity, but it's as if the growth stopped with their previous album. I have been waiting for years for the ultimate Enchant song and I'm still waiting. I'm dead certain these guys can deliver a true classic, but it simply does not happen. How much more time do we have to give them? How much time do they need?

Released in North America by the now defunct InsideOut Music America (IOMA 2063-2)

Sinking Sand (7:09) / Tug O' War (7:41) / Holding The Wind (5:45) / Beautiful (4:28) / Queen Of The Informed (7:01) / Living In A Movie (6:58) / Long Way Down (4:57) / See No Evil (5:52) / Progtology (6:46) / Comatose (8:50)

Ted Leonard - vocals
Douglas A. Ott - guitars
Ed Platt - bass
Sean Flanegan - drums
Bill Jenkins - keyboards

A Blueprint of the World (1995)
Wounded (1997)
Time Lost (1997)
Break (1998)
Juggling 9 Or Dropping 10 (2000)
Blink Of An Eye (2002)
Tug Of War (2003)
Live At Last (2004)
The Great Divide (2014)
Live At Last (2004) (DVD)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: October 19th 2003
Reviewer: John "Bobo" Bollenberg

Artist website: www.enchantband.com
Hits: 930
Language: english


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