When I was a boy of 16 years old, I took with a friend the train to Amsterdam to pay a visit to the largest record store of The Netherlands. Looking for special progressive rock albums ... like those early albums of The Enid. Those original vinyl albums of The Enid are now collector items. I had to wait for more than 35 years to see The Enid performing live on stage in a small Dutch place called Uden. To my dismay, there were only 50 fans ... but the band gave everything they had ... and played a fantastic gig. To be honest ... the band blew me away. Robert John Godfrey and Dave Story are the only two musicians from the original line-up. Leader Robert John Godfrey gathered some great young musicians ... and the band is now stronger then ever. Together they produce the sound of a real classical symphony orchestra and have found in the person of Joe Payne a fantastic singer who brings old and new The Enid songs with great enthusiasm and skills from the world of the musical. The new album “Invicta” is the first album in the new line-up that only exists out of new The Enid material. All the lyrics are written and performed by Joe Payne. I would especially mention Max Read who together with Jason Ducker engineered the album, mixed the album and produced it together with leader Robert John Godfrey.
Max Read - vocals and guitar; Dave Story - drums & percussion; Jason Ducker - guitars; Joe Payne - vocals; Robert John Godfrey - keyboards; Nic Willes - bass & percussion
“Invicta” opens with the short (around one minute) “Anthropy”, a mysteriously sounding classical opening that will get the attention of everyone in the room :-) It seamless flows into the track “One & The Many”. In this track Joe Payne is showing his vocal range, which is hugh! He sings the first part with his falsetto voice (impressive). The musical support is delicate and minimal. A very beautiful opening of this album that has a strong classical atmosphere. After the next track “Who Created Me?” you will be impressed by the vocal opportunities which the band currently has with it's new singer. In “Who Created Me?” Joe shows the qualities of a musical star. All the people who did see The Enid performing live on stage the last year, will recognise this. There are some great vocal melodies and harmonies in this track and the piano parts of Robert John Godfrey and the electric guitars of Jason Ducker reminds me of those mentioned early albums. But there is more to enjoy on this wonderful album. “Execution Mob” is the only track where Robert John Godfrey is not mentioned as one of the composers. This song has even commercial potential with it's pop influences and is again a showcase of the vocal opportunities the band has.
The second part of this album full of new The Enid material is very strong. It all starts with “Witch Hunt” where the classical beast that is inside the band is released. Besides great vocal harmonies this track is packed with classical percussion (Nic Willes), broad symphonic orchestral music and progressive rock. The Enid rocks in “Witch Hunt”. The next track “Heaven's Gate” has a beautiful slow classical opening and is working towards breathtaking orchestral melodies. Slowly the intensity of the music is working towards a climax. But you can also enjoy delicate piano and guitar parts in this highlight of the album.
After all this musical pampering the vocals are returning in the next highlight “Leviticus”. The music and the vocal melodies are so beautiful ... as a reviewer I'm speechless. In “Villain Of Science” Joe Payne is not only singing but he is performing the story. The album closes with the delicate “The Whispering” which has a beautiful melody and great vocal harmonies.
I would like to make a bold remark now; I think that The Enid ... the only real Symphonic band ... has made with “Invicta” their best album so far. However the band includes some young but very talented musicians the band sounds mature. This wonderful mix of musical experience and talent gives the band so much potential. The wonderful orchestrations of Robert John Godfrey and the vocal choirs of Max Read makes of “Invicta” a very good album full of symphonic orchestral music. The first part of the album is showing the vocal opportunities which the band currently has with new singer Joe Payne. Musically the second part of the album is very strong and includes some breathtaking melodies and vocal harmonies. All this makes that “Invicta” is one of the best albums of 2012. Robert John Godfrey must be proud of his boys ... the new incarnation of The Enid has a bright future!