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Enine: The Great Silent

Although a good proportion of it appeared on the album Live In St. Petersburg last year, The Great Silent is the debut studio effort from the Russian instrumental prog rock quintet Enine. Originally taking its inspiration from the classic silent films - Frankenstein (released in 1910), Nosferatu (1922) and Metropolis (1927) - in many ways what Enine have created here is a keyboard led soundtrack album that pays respect to these cine-classics of old, while never really intending to sound like it came from that era.

Formed by two members of the band Algabas, guitarist Vladimir Mikhailov and keyboard player Ilya Frolov, the outfit is completed by drummer Vladimir Nikonov, bassist/vocalist Vladimir Kosygin and flute/djembe player Stas Tregubov. The eagle-eyed of you will have noticed already the contradiction of an instrumental outfit having a vocalist - which they do - but I wouldn’t say they have a ‘singer’. Instead “Nosferatu (The Great Vampire)” features a series of howling groans by way of vocals, which sound something like a didgeridoo, but without the actual didgeridoo, the voice used here more as another instrument rather than a story-telling device. In many ways this piece is the core of the album, running as it does to 16 minutes-plus and featuring some of the most eclectic moments presented. With everything from flute to guitar and voice to keyboards taking on the role of key-scene setter as the piece evolves, it’s a wide and varied journey that satisfies in a number of ways.

The one niggling nag I have - and in general, not just about “Nosferatu…” - is that while Metropolis was more of an early, if unsettling, sci-fi film, what with the other pieces being portrayed coming from the early days of horror, there really isn’t any sort threat carried by the music laid out. In fact, it would be a stretch to even describe much of what you’ll find here as ‘spooky’. It is, however, all cannily crafted, the musical passages undoubtedly conveying the emotion behind the unseen images, if not always the tone. With the atmosphere created certainly being mysterious, there’s a lot to engage as the inner secrets of “The Curse Of Dr. Caligari” and “The Light Of Metropolis” are revealed.

The interplay between instruments is organic and without ego, as it reminds of everything from Jarre and Schulze through to Genesis and something altogether more jagged and edgy. Which is fitting given that the band themselves state that their name, Enine (which comes from a river in Kamchatka, the home of their bassist), is born from a place famed for its myth and legend. And with aspects of folk music from North Russia interwoven into some more readily recognisable prog frameworks, while there’s little presented here that could be considered earth shatteringly individual, it does make a most welcome change that as you listen in hard to The Great Silent, there is seldom a moment where one other band is specifically brought to mind.

With the album opening with the short, scene setting “Welcome To Monochrome”, that it closes with the pair of “Waiting For...” and “...The Colour” would suggest that the next offering from Enine will move this band’s cinematic story a short step closer to the current day. If it’s as involving and gently invigorating as The Great Silent, it will be an interesting voyage of discovery.

Track Listing
1. Welcome to the Monochrome
2. The Curse of Dr. Caligari
3. The Light of Metropolis
4. Workers
5. Frankenstein
6. Nosferatu (The Great Vampire)
7. Waiting for...
8. ...the Colour

Added: October 5th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Enine at bandcamp
Hits: 1033
Language: english

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