French progressive metal band Enneade made their debut on CD in 2005 with an album called Remembrance, which was quiet impressive; long songs that combined the power of Dream Theater with Marillion's playfulness. More than six years later the (for me) unexpected successor is released and called Teardrops In Morning Dew. A small change in the line-up left Enneade only with two guitar players instead of three on the debut album. Guitarist Gines Jimenez has left, but still plays on the album, leaving Georges-Marc Lavarenne, who also plays keyboards and Christophe Goulevitch behind as the axemen of the band. Julien Fayolle, who played the bass and stick was replaced by bass player Jean-Pierre Gobelin and also still played on the CD. To complete the band members, we have Christian Greven on vocals and keyboards and Frédédric Larousse on drums.
I don't think that the change in the line-up had effect on the music that Enneade plays. The time between the albums and the personal preferences of the musicians have been the reason for a slight change in style, which is most clear in the song Trailokya; the second song on the album that kicks in after a short instrumental opening called The Way. Trailokya surely has elements of Marillion and Dream Theater, mainly in the instrumental parts, but my first impression was Therion in their Vovin period or even Paradise Lost's One Second album came to mind. Enneade's sound definitely became darker and has the edge of gothic rock. When you continue with Maeve, it almost seems you are listening to another band, the vocals are much lighter and brighter; the dark edge has changed into a glimpse of sunshine, acoustic guitars with discrete keyboards in the background softly move along Christian's relaxed vocals. This is a real contrast with the previous powerful song. The Shape begins as a kind of soundscape where drums take over and a guitar starts to cry. The guitar patterns on this song could have been written by King Crimson's main man Robert Fripp. Darker music returns on the fifteen and a half minute Elements, where the vocals have a hint of David Bowie, but the music has an oriental touch with the tremendous staccato of the guitar and drums. As the song continues, the mesmerizing music turns smooth and almost acoustic, a long instrumental intermezzo softly grows from gentle guitars to a powerful conflict between guitars and keyboards. There is so much to enjoy in this song since every time you listen, there are new things to discover. The Message is almost acoustic and musically reminds me a bit of Pink Floyd' s Pigs On The Wing, until the guitars take over, where King Crimson comes around again. The albums piece de resistance is a stunning twenty one and a half minute song; Teardrops In Morning Dew. Opening happily like a Flower Kings song, the darkness appears with stretched guitar sounds that flow into a real heavy, shouting part. In between this power, a Fripperonic soundscape provides a small piece of silence, and a guitar part leads to a beautiful melodic end of an impressive piece of music. The Form is the last song on the album and is an instrumental composition which has again that nice Robert Fripp feel.
Teardrops In Morning Dew has pushed Enneade into a more dark direction, still influenced by Marillion and Dream Theater, but the majority of the song structures and compositions definitely head into the direction of King Crimson and even more into the Robert Fripp solo albums, where the Fripperonics rule. Enneade made an album that gets under your skin and won't let go, after a few spins in the CD player, the true force of Teardrops In Morning Dew hits you.
**** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Robert James Pashman)
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