Describing themselves as "...a cutting edge prog'rock combo with a lingering 70's aftertaste..." Enneade has touched a nerve that only some prog salve can soothe. Time to check out what the French consider "cutting edge," so let us disembark the Concert Closet and do some exploring, shall we?
The buffet seems exceptionally heavy this week, and I want to run this gauntlet to the end, so best to start slow and focused. Serving number one is an emotional roller coaster called "Elements." The song opens the same way a hurricane starts...slowly off the periphery. You can sense anxiety and a foreboding darkness looming; you aren't sure when the earth shattering kaboom is going to land--you just know it's coming straight toward you. The guitars hang like a Sword of Damocles in the air ready to strike that fatal blow. Drums come from the bottom and build a force that permeates the entire piece...yet through all of this you never feel like doom has invaded your most private space--rather it is an air of defiance that fills the room.
Enneade has strong aromas of Opeth and Dream Theater, and a lingering top note of Ted Nugent in his "Stranglehold" days. Striding back to the buffet for a stronger dose, I come away with an attention-grabbing song called "Tunis Area." This piece is redolent of the 80's incarnation of King Crimson...an almost avante-garde opening leading quickly down a dark tunnel to madness and mayhem. The guitars seem to be crying as they bleed out, running down your spine like sap oozing from a maple tree. The drums fit perfectly, leaving just enough space to let the air out of the piece. Enneade squeezes your head with this one and never lets go--but instead of pain you feel mesmerized.
Liner Notes...Enneade began in 1996 in Lyon, France. The present line-up consists of of Georges-Marc Lavarenne on guitars, keyboards, and backing vocals, Julien Fayolle on bass, chapman stick, and glockenspiel, Mallory Durieu on vocals, Christophe Goulevitch on guitars, and Frederic Lacousse on drums and percussion. However; through the years many a talented musician has passed through the Enneade turnstyle...much the way Yes has a who's who of alumni. While Enneade occupies a lot of acreage in the metal section of the prog garden, they also have off-shoots in areas where the sun shines a bit brighter. The library of music Enneade has put out screams multiple-personality disorder...which in the world of progressive rock is very much a good thing. Understanding when it is best to either hit hard or pull punches, paint with bright colors or use a dark canvas to reflect passion and emotion, Enneade comes bursting through the noise and clutter with tight sound and a cohesiveness born of almost two decades riding the prog carousel.
Moving back one last time to the calorie-laden buffet, the final serving this week is called (appropriately enough) "Farewell Goodbye." Enneade's brighter, happier side comes through at first...smooth like a sailboat on the lake. A steady drumbeat reminds you that nothing last forever while the keyboards and guitars sit on top like whip cream on a sundae...and then the beast starts to bend the cage bars. The tension is as tangible as a cold knife blade against your neck...although the fatal strike somehow eludes. Enneade builds a tension throughout without tearing your scalp off, resulting in a somewhat eerie gladness.
The clip posted below is an emotion tugging piece called "The Dreamscape Part I: The Awakening." Enneade starts out slowly here, painting with a subtle brush using soft strokes. You start to feel lulled into a feeling of safety; no head banging to be found. Just to remind you what Enneade is about however, the metal seeps through the headphones at a level able to kick start your metabolism. The vocals throughout are soft without being mushy...strong enough to hold up to the pulsating drums and powerful guitar without exploding into a frightening shrill. Yes, Enneade is able to run the gambit of metal emotions without leaving burn marks. Learn more about Enneade at http://enneadeband.com/. You can also follow the band on Twitter @enneade and find them on Facebook at
https://www.facebook.com/enneadeband?fref=nf. Whichever your preference, Enneade is a band worth delving into...just be sure to wear protective head gear...
Once again fellow progheads we have reached the end of an exciting week. Creeping up on the halfway marker for 2015 seems almost surreal, yet knowing there are many more surprises out there just waiting to be found keeps the Concert Closet on the prowl for all things prog. Enneade has an approach to progressive rock that is just this side of different; they know when to blast you hard enough to remove the outer layer of epidermis and when to take a more relaxed approach and melt through that hard exterior.
The search for all things prog continues...time once again to refuel the Concert Closet and leave a jet stream in my wake...until next week...