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Report by CMM Online

Striking guitar riffs, atmospheric keyboards, delicate bass runs, sophisticated rhythms and the warm, clear voice of singer Ted Leonard: important ingredients, which play a crucial role in the typical sound of American prog rockers Enchant. With their new album, "Blink of an Eye", the San Franciscan group formed around guitarist and songwriter Doug Ott are presenting the successor to the inspired "Juggling 9 or Dropping 10", which found lots of enthusiastic fans in the world of progressive rock. "Blink of an Eye" distinguishes itself, as in the 5 preceeding albums, though first class melodies, varied arrangements and powerful production. Justifiably, Enchant were chosen as one of the "15 most important Neo-prog-rock groups" by the specialist music journal "Stero & Audio" at the end of the nineties. In the meantime the musicians have not been resting on their laurels however. "I think that our songs are more straightforward than in the past", says Ott of the new material. "We have tried to make the songs as strong as possible, concentrating on every melody, so that all tracks have real hook lines."

"Blink of an Eye", whose title is taken from a prominent line of text in the album opener "Under Fire", was recorded in Ott's own studio "The Ottotorium" in Concord, California, just like "Juggling 9 or Dropping 10" and "Break". The songs were produced by Ott himself, mixed by Tom King-Size and mastered by Ken Lee. This threesome, with a sure feeling for the tonal necessities of the different songs, has achieved brilliant work. "The sound of Blink of an Eye differs a little from our earlier releases" explains Ott. "We used a new recording system and I tried out some new guitar sounds. The record sounds noticeably earthier."

Enchant is still made up of Doug Ott, Ted Leonard and bassist Ed Platt. Drummer Paul Craddick on the other hand left the group last year. "Paul inceasingly had different musical ideas and wants to devote himself to various styles in the future. He is still a close friend of the group, however, and occasionally looks in on our rehearsals to support us." To replace Craddick, Enchant have taken on Sean Flanagan, a long time friend of the group, whose articulate playing smoothly continues the band's rhythmic versatility.

Lyrically the new songs revolve around remorse, contempt, fear, hope, love, or as Ott describes it, "...everyday life situations. We try to write about things that move us or we consider worth mentioning. They are partly very personal stories: growing up without a father, the end of a relationship, the new beginning, etc. I'm always pleased when someone tells me that they could relate to the lyrics and have drawn the strength or stimulus to free themselves from a similarly difficult situation."

There are highlights by the dozen on "Blink Of An Eye". Whether the gripping opener "Under Fire", the intense "Monday", the longest track (at almost eight minutes) "Ultimate Gift" or the concluding "Despicable", one always notices the typcial Enchant flair in conjunction with a whole cornucopia of new, fresh ideas. For Ott himself, "Follow The Sun" especially is a true jewel. "If I had to pick a special favourite, it would be this song. I wrote it for the other guys in the band as sort of a rallying call, after Paul had left the band. It's supposed to be a call to keep holding on to the dream. For a while I was worried about the band and wasn't sure what the coming months would bring. This song has a Pink Floydish atmosphere, a new stylistic experience for us."

Enchant were founded at the beginnning of the nineties by Michael Geimer, Paul Craddick and Doug Ott. Already with their third demo, they got an offer for a deal with the north German label Dream Circle Records. "A Blueprint of the World" was recorded in England in August 1993 under the direction of Marillion guitarist Steve Rothery, who also performed solo guitar. The first European tour followed in the summer, then the parting from Dream Circle. In August Enchant announced a new record company, InsideOut and the second album, "Wounded". Again, the press and prog fans were enthusiastic, as they were about the following tour supporting Dream Theater, for which "Time Lost" appeared, an album with 4 brand new songs and unreleased material. In August 1998 "Break" was in the shops, and Enchant toured with Spock's Beard and Marillion. After a somewhat quieter phase, during which drummer Paul Craddick realized his first solo album under the project name "Xen" (featuring Ted Leonard and Doug Ott), the fifth album "Juggling 9 or Dropping 10" appeared. A further masterpiece of prog rock that now has with "Blink of an Eye" a worthy succesor.

Before "Blink of an Eye" is released on July 23rd 2002 as regular CD and strictly limited Digibook (including a 7 minute bonus track "Prognosis"), there is a re-release of "A Blueprint Of The World", which has an extra CD with a 60 minute Enchant demo featuring the original frontman (and bass player) Brian Cline. Almost simultaneously "Wounded" will be re-released with "Time Lost" as a double CD with new liner notes and demo material at a special price. Coming events throw their shadows before them, and it is hoped to be able to greet Enchant on European stages as soon as possible. Ott: In a few days we're playing Nearfest in New Jersey and hope to be able to go on a full tour again soon. The only question at the moment is: with whom?