Friday, July 22, 2011

ENSPIER: "The Hall Of Mirrors"

Rating: 5/10

Label: TSM/SLW 2011

Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Enspier is a rock band that image-wise may attract the right sort of people to attend their concerts. It's the lean and clean rock business style which the incrowd will so dearly adore (read: family friendly suits and nice haircuts). However, the music is a completely different story altogether and not quite as pleasant in the long run. "The Hall Of Mirrors" is the debut album by the Ozzie band (they're from Australia) and it's been nicely produced by Anton Hagop (Silverchair, Powderfinger) and the mastering was done at New York's famous Sterling Sound Studio (AC/DC, Guns N Roses, Pearl Jam, etc).

Top notch stuff production-wise, sadly, their compositions are just too vivid and out of place/order. It's complicated rock/prog and they're sort of stuck with one feet in each camp. Seriously, if you have a (great) singer that's been heavily inspired and influenced by Bon Jovi and Bono and a band that rather likes to pretend they're 'Dream Theater', things will obviously clash and the result is hardly not pleasing to these ears. It's like half of the band is Bon Jovi/U2 and the other struggle to keep things proggy and complicated.

It's not a pretty picture and their arrangements are the ones to suffer the most from schizophrenia. Sure, it works out nicely every now and then, such as on the excellent power ballads, "Message From A Fool" and "Little Piece", but, most of the time, it's just a constant struggle between posh melodic rock and complex prog. Now, I'm a fan of both genres, but I sure as hell don't need a Bon Jovi/Dream Theater and certainly not when the melodies are so utterly bleak/weak as the first six (6) tracks on "The Hall Of Mirrors". The second half of the CD is definitely much better but it's still not enough to change things around. To be perfectly honest, I'd remove the first six tracks, and re-release it as a seven track EP since these tracks are good. A&R to the rescue!!!

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