ENCHANT – Live At Last

ENCHANT - Live At Last


Release date: October 26, 2004

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Since the beginning in 1992, American Progressive Rock band Enchant has released 7 albums, gained a worldwide group of fans, and has often been mentioned in conjunction with Spock’s Beard. With Live at Last, Enchant takes the near mandatory step required to join the exclusive club of class act Progressive Rock bands: a live album. Along with an extensive 2 DVD set, this documents the bands performance at I-Musicast in Oakland, California, March 13, 2004… an event also covered by devoted fans flying in all the way from Germany and Brazil, we’ve been told.

Having been around for more than 10 years, Enchant surely has a vast number of songs to choose from, and approximately a third of those were played that night. Whether or not the songs selected for this show and album met the fans’ demands remains an individual question to answer. Judging from the band’s compositions is pointless, since all their previous albums have been thoroughly reviewed in the past. So, cutting to the chase, what we have is a 2 1/2 hour concert to discuss.

Opening act “Mae Dae” sets sail for a quite an energetic performance, with an amazingly enthusiastic audience supplying all the wind needed for a safe journey. This sounds promising so far! However, when singer Tad Leonard joins the band in “At Death’s Door,” the band sadly fails to live up to their name. A mid-toned biased production, along with a typical flat live sound does not provide a good framework for his slightly nasal voice. On top of that, he seems to struggle often in reaching the higher notes, and ends up sounding like a total misfit when gauging his whole performance (like in the opening of “Monday,” which is somewhat unlike most of their studio recorded songs). In fact, this pulls down the overall impression of the album and the joyride feeling, which is so well communicated by the audience, turning out to be somewhat like cuddling with a cactus. Please allow a short elaboration on this:

Several of the melody lines on the album often favor a certain high register range of notes. Sadly, Leonard’s voice does not favor this range, and also no note above this. One is tempted to describe the effect of this as awful, but that might be unfair to Leonard himself, and sacrilegious to the fans. Besides, this is not the first time vocals have failed in a live setting… but then again, that’s what separates gold from brass, so to speak.

The level picks up quite a bit with “Sinking Sand” and “Progtology” on the first CD, and on the second CD with tracks “Follow the Sun,” “Comatose,” and “Oasis.” The band is mostly tight and energetic, even if they sometimes sound a little less than inspired: more like a Monday morning rather than a Saturday night.

Needless to say, a favorite track from this album is the instrumental “Progtology” (with some solid work on the guitar by singer Leonard!). Enchant is more of a song-orientated rock band than a truly Progressive Rock band. Sure, the Progressive elements are present, but too often they become more like an atmospheric backdrop and less of a musical leap forward. But with “Progtology,” and also with “Oasis,” Enchant takes a chance and jumps off the cliff, serving us the very essence of a thrill … and that’s Progressive for you! Nevertheless, since “Oasis” contains several vocal parts, it doesn’t quite reach the same level as “Progtology.”

A nice feature about the album is actually the cover and the CDs themselves. It’s a neat design, where images from the cover of all of their 7 previous albums make a sort of heading, and thus indicate without words the contents of the album. All of this on top of a black velvet (or marble?) looking backdrop, giving it a rather exclusive look. But then, judging by the cover…

Live at Last is expectedly the perfect Christmas gift for fans, especially for those who witnessed the show. However, it’s not very likely that this album will make it to the “classic” section or help gaining more fans, for that matter. For most people, this is nothing but 2 1/2 hours wasted, and thus the album can safely be omitted from your collection … or as Tad Leonard himself puts it at the end of “Pure”:

– You guys’ve had to put up with a lot tonight! –

Hard to argue with you on that one, Tad…


  • Frode Leirvik

    Frode was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Norway. His headbanging experience started when his brother-in-law gave him Deep Purple’s Fireball at the age of ten. Since then, he has also been a fan of and active in several other musical genres, resulting in a deep and profound interest in music. Some of his favorites, among all of those who have somehow managed to tap into the universal force of Progressive Music are (in no particular order): Thule, Dream Theater, King Crimson,Pink Floyd, Rush, Spock’s Beard, Jan Hammer and Jerry Goodman, Ekseption, Focus, The Beatles, Deep Purple and Frank Zappa.

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