Review of "Live At Last" by DPRP
Enchant should need no introduction to the discerning Neoprog/ Prog Metal/ Melodic Hard Rock fan, having steadily honed their craft over the course of seven albums. From the Marillion/Rush stylings of A Blueprint Of The World (which failed to make much of an impression on me - but which is popular with long term fans) they have grown in stature with each successive album. I picked up on their career again with Break and Iíve counted myself as a fan ever since.
Whilst their influences are often readily apparent, Enchant have managed to establish their own signature sound, chiefly made up of Ted Leonardís powerful, melodic vocals and Doug Ottís confident and incisive guitar playing, ably backed by the solid rhythm section (now consisting of Ed Platt on bass and Sean Flanagan on drums), The whole thing is given much atmosphere and power by the liberal use of symphonic keyboards, now provided by new boy Bill Jenkins. The song writing has matured considerably over the years and it is surprising that the band do not attract as much attention as some of the heavyweights in the world of prog.
So, what you should know about this double live CD is that it is an excellent example of the form. The sound is exceptional throughout and the audience sound like they are having a great time (as well they should), but they do not intrude on the proceedings too much. The performances are uniformly superb, with Ted Leonard being in terrific voice. The mix is warm and revealing, conveying much of the atmosphere of the gig directly into your room.
All stages of Enchants recording career are covered here, with all their best tunes getting a look in. Alongside a wide selection of favourites (some of mine including Blindsided, My Enemy and Break) you also get a couple of instrumentals (Mae Dae and Progtology Ė with the later proving that Enchant can tackle the more complex prog material as well as the song based stuff they do so well) and the now obligatory acoustic interlude Ė with fine versions of Black Eyes And Broken Glass and Colors Fade.
Over the course of two and a half hours, and without ever losing momentum or failing to entertain, the group regale us with a third of their recorded output. Thus this disc serves as a timely reminder of just how much good stuff they have produced over the years. That neither the band nor the audience shows any signs of flagging by the end of the show, with Oasis being a storming closer, as tightly performed as the opening number, is testimony to the strength of the groupís material and the power of their performance.
As with all the great live albums, this disc makes a great introduction to the band and is a sumptuous feast for existing fans. It easily found a place in my top ten cdís of the year, which is quite an achievement, as there have been, in my opinion, plenty of great cdís released in 2004, and Enchant operate in a style of music that is not usually my favourite - I like a wide range of progressive styles including ProgMetal, Jazz Fusion, Rio, Zehul, Folk, Symphonic, Electronic, and also Neo prog, but I lean towards the more complex stuff and the 70ís styled retro feel in general. For song based stuff to make a strong impression on me, it has too have that little something extra, the magic touch, if you like (Collage and Everon are two examples of the kind of bands that do it for me), and Enchant prove here that they are more that capable of consistently delivering the goods.