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ENOCH (The Hierophant) CD

Artistic freedom still exists and ENOCH definitely makes use of it. It seems as if there are no stylistic and musical restrictions on 'The Hierophant' which includes more surprises than a Kinder Easter Egg. I am therefore wondering how to give you some personal impressions, because sometimes music is hard to put into words. Already Frank Zappa knew that. Nevertheless, I will do my best. From the very beginning, one thing is clear: North Carolina's ENOCH is a challenging band. Their music is on the edge of sludge, heavy rock, jazz and progressive, but even that description is not exactly correct. At least you can gain a small impression of this strange little beauty named 'The Hierophant'. The songs are dark in its nature and very lively. This is partly the result of Charles Howes who owns the same looseness and versatility like a jazz drummer. Very often, he pushes the songs forward with his quirky and restless style. Meanwhile, Dave Lynch (guitar, vocals) and Neal Wilson (bass) create a huge bottom-end tone of epic proportions. Seriously, it's been a while since I've heard such a gargantuan heavy sound from a new band. And also the guitar work is pretty impressive.

When necessary, Dave Lynch is also capable of setting up a harmonic environment that basks between quiet melancholy and exciting attacks, and spanning broad melodic phrases on top of it. In doing this, he strikes an intriguing balance between sheer brutality and surprisingly well-crafted melody. There are moments on this album, where ENOCH do remind me of Melvins in terms of riffing and heaviness, whereas a song such as 'A Riff Too Far' has some similarities with bands like Tia Carrera and Earthless. Obviously, ENOCH love to jam when it's worthwile. By contrast, the title track is a crushing behemoth of riffs that combines the lysergic heaviness of Sons Of Otis with the unfiltered distortion of Japan's sludgemongers Greenmachine. But after a few minutes, it abruptly ends, changes direction and becomes very quiet. Suddenly one feels reminded of Neil Young's 'Dead Man' soundtrack, but it's still the same song. Not bad! Then it becomes heavier and the band starts to jam in an inspiring, wonderful way. This track shows what is perhaps the essence of ENOCH. They take some risks instead of being on the safe side.

There are also clear vocals on the album, but they are not the most important aspect of the band. It is rather the entire genre-binding performance of ENOCH that I will store in my long-term memory, even when it was not always easy to get access to this complex album. But it has been worth it, because ENOCH do not fail to offer something attractive that was bolted together with genuine care and inspiration. As previously mentioned, my review is only an attempt to describe the many faces of 'The Hierophant' and most likely, you will discover more things here. Well anyway, ENOCH have managed to record a fascinating album that is among the most interesting 2011 debut releases in the genre of heavy progressive madness. My thanks go also to the Russian record label R.A.I.G. for discovering this promising band.