Review: Enshine – Singularity

 
Overall Impression
8.5


 
Lyrics
8.5


 
Musical Quality
9.0


 
Originality
8.0


 
Total Score
8.5


 

Release Date


18 October 2015

Country


Sweden / France


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Posted September 24, 2018 by

 
The Review
 
 

“Singularity”, Enshines second album, is weaving goth, doom, melo-death and even black metal into one, and starts with a strong opening track: a nice tantalizing synthesizer intro invites you alluringly in. For 30 seconds, this track promises to be a tunnel of lovely piano melodies, drifting on a fairy-tale stream into the universe. Then the portals open and heavy guitars and drums set in, directing us firmly into metal music territory. And for anyone who is still in doubt at this point, the deep, threatening roars of Sébastien Pierre (Inborn Suffering, Fractal Gates) then take away all question about the direction in which Enshine will take us on this second album. The very first 4 lyrical lines of this track further solidify the sense of being thrown onto a journey into the universe, just as we have grown accustomed to with the music projects of Swedish Jari Lindholm (AtomA, Slumber, Seas of Years, Exgenesis among other bands).

So this is how we ascend

Across the tunnel of light

I feel the tide around me

The days of our lifetime are gone

I rated Enshines debut album “Origin” a 9,5 mark, and loved its gripping melodies with balanced out parts for synthesizers, guitars and vocals. It was a rather ‘soft’ album probably for die hard metal heads, but as such completely to my own taste. “Singularity” seems to steer away from mellowness, without really losing too much of its demanding melodic qualities. It manages to again create a sense of space, but the planet we landed on now is cold and violently unwelcoming at times. Sébastien Pierres monstrous roaring growls are more omnipresent on this album, and give it – together with more threatening roles for the guitars and a lesser role for sole electronic synthesizer melodies and clean singing – a firmer feel. On some tracks on this album, growls seem to take the front stage entirely, whereas on “Origin” they always felt like secondary to the strong instrumental melodic themes. “Origin” also has a few tracks that sound perhaps almost ambient at times, while this second album has perhaps one track that could be called vaguely ambient. Instead it is marked by high strung energy, roaring vocals and a lead role for the guitars. Synthesizers were the main stage player on “Origin”, but now growls push them aside into the background. Some might call this album more mature, I personally think it lost a little bit of the balance which “Origin” did offer, in exchange for a more definitive metal sound.

An example of the imbalance I noticed on “Singularity” is the way in which more full on songs like “In Our Mind” and “Echoes”, with their brutal elegance, are separated by “Astrarium Pt. II”, which is an obvious extension from the track “Astrarium” on their debut album, but which suddenly seems too soft,almost ambient in comparison. It feels like we’re coming from a full on space war into a (well needed) little oasis with elf-like soothing tones, only to be thrown back into the space war again several minutes later. The contrast between the energy levels of these subsequent songs is too big for me. “Origin” as an album also has all of these qualities and ingredients, but shows a more natural flow from high to low energy and back again. That being said, “In Our Mind” is a cracking and stand out song with a good balance between vocals, guitars and synths and a pumping and strong melody to lean on.

“Resurgence” offers another powering, imposing wall of sound, with guitars who sound like Kalashnikov’s one moment and like weeping willows another, and who are almost dueling with a roaring Sébastien Pierre. But in their bombastic powers, they push the more harmonious melody lines far to the background. Tracks like “The Final Trance” and “Dreamtide” have a decent melody to lean on (with especially “Dreamtide” building up to quite an epic sound), but could have done with some clean singing in my opinion. Just like “Adrift” starts with beautiful clean voices, reminiscing of bands like Alcest and showing us how well Sébastien Pierre can use all vocal registers, but the track only allows these angelic tones to linger for 32 seconds, before strong growls chase them away again. Granted, the choir voices return again short after for a bit, but it is probably clear by now that I think there are too many growls on this album, compared to their debut album. They distract sometimes from the stand out power of the melody lines, and music this good doesn’t need monotonous growls tying every single song together into one growling pit. My problem with growls is that they bring little variety to any song, and if they are given too much the main stage they can push even the best of tracks towards a generic sound.

This footnote aside, “Singularity” has some very good tracks, including “In Our Mind”, “Echoes” and the almost melancholic and mournful – yet ultimately hopeful – closing track “Apex”. But it also has some mediocre tracks that are dominated by an excessive, overpowering presence of vocals and guitars, for instance “Dreamtide” and “Resurgence”. As expected again, the album is beautifully produced and has a very polished feel to it.

I feel this album is showing more extremes than Enshines debut album and a much darker mood, and as such might appeal to more people, except for people like me who felt Origin was perfect in its dosage of everything. AtomA’s masterpiece “Skylight”, and Enshines own “Origin” prove that metal music does not have to rely on harsh and explosive growls to build an overwhelming emotional universe. My end verdict therefore is that this album offers epic music writing again, but has too many death growls and leans too much on walls of guitar music to be an all-round masterpiece. Nevertheless the quality of the music is very high and aside from personal taste, this is a solid album, sticking high and mighty above the average metal albums out there.

 

****

 

Stand out tracks: In Our Mind, Echoes, The Final Trance and Apex

 

Track list:

1. Dual Existence

2. Adrift

3. Resurgence

4. In Our Mind

5. Astrarium Pt. II

6. Echoes

7. Dreamtide

8. The Final Trance

9. Apex

 

Lineup:

Jari Lindholm – Guitar, Synth, Additional Vocals

Sebastien Pierre – Lead Vocals, Additional Keys

Oscar Borgenstam – Drums

Slavosh Bigonah – Bass

Sandy Mahrer – Choir Vocals

 

Record Label: Rain Without End Records

 

Singularity, Enshine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RKADYeE6sck

 

If you like Enshine, also check out: AtomA, Slumber, Seas of Years, Alcest, Les Discrets, Widek (for instance the track ‘Nova’), Ixion, Cold Insight, Katatonia, Distant Dream, M83, Sólstafir, Oh Hiroshima, Last Leaf Down, Silent Whale Becomes A Dream.

 

And of course don’t forget to check out my long youtube playlist with many good songs, mainly in the genres shoegaze, post-rock, indie, atmospheric rock, melodic metal and dream-pop.


Natalja O.

 


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