Review Summary: By the pricking of my thumbs, something wicked this way comes...
With the dawn of the eighties came more turmoil for The Enid. Most of the band members would end up departing for other musical ventures. By 1982, only two would be left to go on. Left to carry the burden were Robert John Godfrey (keyboardist) and Stephen Stewart (guitarist), who both would relocate to Clare, Suffolk, setting up a new recording studio, known as “The Lodge”. Following years of legal battles, the duo set their sights on recording their first album as an independent band, now free of label interference. Rejoining the band was Chris North, who’d participate as a session drummer for the recording. New to an Enid record would be two things: the use of vocals, and the introduction of Stephen Stewart at lead guitar. With the pieces in place, The Enid would put out their highest selling LP yet.
Something Wicked This Way Comes
continues the (unofficial) tradition of the concept album, this time being loosely based on nuclear war, and attempts to unmask the reality behind the situation and its potential impact on life as we know it. Album opener Raindown
takes hold of said concept, and manages to capture the paranoia and fears of society over a six minute interval; Godfrey’s vocals serve shroud doom-laden descriptions of the destruction brought forth by the bombs, and the subsequent fallout that comes with it. Jessica
moves away from the frightening concept, to present a tribute the birth of friend’s child, hence the title. Here, Stewart is given the spotlight, putting a joyous guitar track on tape. However, from then on, the nuclear war concept takes an absolute and firm grip on the album, and onto the listener. Then There Were None
describes the raindown of the bombs, and the impact it has on a person, portraying a gruesome reality; while it seems like any of this wouldn’t pan out well, it is able to work quite well.
On Something Wicked This Way Comes
, something happens to be missing, and that particular thing is the prominent classical influence. Yes, while present on Jessica
, it is hardly present, being discarded for a more pop-oriented sound, while staying true to the classic Enidian sound. Evensong
continues in a mournful direction, while foreshadowing the motif of the title track. Bright Star
and Song for Europe
serve as the calm before the storm, the former being a reprise of sorts, as well being a rather serene track. The latter however, is much louder in dynamics, and builds up over time. Aggressive in theme, the overdubbed brass and woodwinds are very similar to Mike Oldfield’s music; With the tribal pounding slowly fading out, the grand finale is only on the horizon. Something Wicked This Way Comes
ends the album on a lengthy note, with there being a heavy focus on the trio. Gentle in introducing the epic, it only builds up to an emotional climax that puts each individual member in the spotlight, one by one. The comedown from said climax calmly ends the album, ending the beautiful piece in true Enid fashion.
Following the release of Something Wicked This Way Comes
, The Enid would go on what would be their most successful tour yet. The 156 tour dates over Europe would prove essential to the band’s success, allowing for Something Wicked This Way Comes
to become their best-selling record yet, despite only being available at shows and by mail order. The success of the new LP would introduce The Enid to new audiences, attracting many due to its accessibility music-wise. Whereas previous albums focused both on individual aspects of the band, this album showcases the band’s first group effort, with each member carrying the heavy load. The three year hiatus may have been what the band really needed to come back stronger than ever, and to release an album of this magnitude surely supports the claim. The one burning question however: could they keep the hot streak going?
To be continued…