The back sleeve of Enchant’s "Blink of an Eye" CD reads “file under progressive rock”. Bless the Inside Out Label for bringing Kaipa, The Flower Kings and Mastermind – amongst others - to the mass public’s attention but this information on Enchant’s CD sleeve is misleading. Enchant is a US band that started out in the Dream Theater school of Prog Metal in the early nineties, then released a lighter, more commercial album called "Juggling 9 or Dropping 10" – a CD that polarized some fans and left this critic cold. "Blink of an eye" begins with a few heavy tunes, suggesting the band wants to hop back into the Prog Metal ring, but it soon mellows out, much like their last release.
My feeling about the band remains the same. They are good instrumentalists hampered by bad singing. It’s not that Ted Leonard’s vocal chords are worse than moderately banal, it’s just that he incorporates the delivery of an AOR band – this trait has been the downfall of many a so-called ProgMetal band. Instead of weaving a melody from within the lacework of musical composition, Leonard chooses a full-out assault delivery that is as insipid as it is predictable. The album is only interesting when there is no singing – and there’s a lot of singing. The musicians know their chops well and are capable of doing a very intense prog fusion thing. The band is also comprised Sean Flanegan replacing former drummer Paul Craddick, Douglas A. Ott on guitars and Ed Platt on bass.
“Under Fire”, the first track, opens with typical angular ProgMetal power riffs and immediately nose dives once the singing begins. Outside of a rousing instrumental close to the song, the album never resurfaces until song 5, “Follow the Sun”. Though disguised as a pop ballad, it does orchestrate an about-turn for the album. Songs become more melodic, building upon interesting progressive instrumentation and glimpses of stronger song writing. “Ultimate Gift” croons at first, but climaxes with a scorching lead guitar instrumental break. “Invisible” starts hard, then introduces a building symphonic keyboard backdrop. Again the instrumental part of the song is more interesting. Generally, the keyboard sound is really missing on this album. Early works were more layered prior to the departure of the band’s keyman Benignus. The band is currently looking for a keyboardist to replace him and his absence is notable.
The closing track, “Despicable” is a short pop/rock song with chunky riffs and a straight-ahead melodic approach. There’s a bonus track, cleverly titled “Prognosis” which shows the band taking a cue and working on what they do best – the instrumental.
I close by asking what is going on with all these ProgMetal bands that play well but ruin potentially good music with an 80’s rock approach to their singing? If they want to brandish themselves with the unpopular progressive label, why try to appeal to the fans that would otherwise have nothing to do with the music? Many people feel Enchant’s albums get better every time and I acknowledge their beliefs. My opinion is firm that the band wants the best of both worlds and can’t make a choice.