The final one in The Enid’s trilogy 

Following on from Journey’s End (2010) and Invicta (2012), seminal progressive rock band, the Enid, have released the final instalment in the trilogy.

Dust, in the most positive sense, is an ambitious and challenging offering – made all the more poignant by the Enid’s founder, Robert John Godfrey’s recent decision to retire from live performing. He has however, ensured that he has built around him a talented band of younger musicians that will take the legacy of the Enid that he created and continue to breathe new life into the band, and that is absolutely reflected in the fabric of Dust.

Mr Godfrey’s talent and passion for orchestral arrangements are very much in evidence on Dust. Along with Max Read’s choral vocalisations and technical wizardry and lead singer Joe Payne’s five-octave range the listener is treated to powerful and theatrical vocals over a movingly symphonic score. If you have not heard Joe Payne sing, then you need to – comparisons with Freddie Mercury are inevitable – Joe can switch happily mid-song from an almost pop-like refrain to swooning operatic crescendo. Add in the fact that he wrote the lyrics to six out of the seven tracks, and shared word duty with Max Read on the last track of the album – Heavy Hearts – it is easy to understand why his vocal performance is emotive,  compelling and delivered with such meaning.

But it would be wrong to suggest that Dust is simply a vehicle for this young singer’s talents. It is a complete work, and all of the band contribute to the unique sound. Whilst keyboards rightly remain a huge focus, Jason Ducker provides quality guitar and bass, Nic Willes does bass and orchestral percussion honours and Dave Storey keeps the rhythm on drums. Jason Bullock plays keyboards on Monsters, and Dominic Tolfield provides drums on Someone Shall Rise – as well as the fabulous artwork for the album.

It is hard to single out specific tracks as the songs flow organically.  However, the opener ‘Born in the Fire’ certainly sets the tone, a baroque delight heralded with a hypnotic choral chant. This leads into the anthemic Someone Shall Rise, almost certainly an allegory for the band’s evolution to the new generation. The journey continues through the Monsters, 1000 stars and When the World is Full – social and political commentary wrapped in glorious music and voice. Trophy is a gem – dark and disturbing lyrics with a catchy hook, this one gets in your head and stays there. The finale is Heavy Hearts and this completely captures the theme of light and dark and love versus hate, and binds the whole album together – which is exactly what the closing track should do.

By far the strongest of the trilogy of albums, the phoenix has indeed risen from the Dust.