THE ENIGMA DIVISION – The Enigma Division (2023)
Featuring the virtuosic talents of guitarist Conor McGouran (ex-Xerath), with acclaimed producer / singer / drummer, Ben Wanders (ex-Xerath / Shardbourne) and Ronan Burns (bass / keyboards) with guest appearances from Derek Sherinian (Sons Of Apollo / Dream Theater), Richard Thomson (Xerath) and more, THE ENIGMA DIVISION have produced one of the most captivating debut albums you’re likely to hear in 2023, their self-titled to be released tomorrow.
With standalone songs being teased as far back as last 2019, The Enigma Division immediately caught the attention of Progressive fans from around the world, which all individually raised the bar to greater heights upon release, thanks to their unique mix of Progressive Rock, ‘80s Synth, and Technical Metal.
The album is a pretty unique sounding platter like a mix of the more adventurous Dream Theater, Rush, Devin Townsend, etc.
The album starts with feedback reverberating in our ears, synth sounds add elements of mystery creating an atmosphere akin to a horror movie sound track. ‘1977’ has quite the opening moments before it really gets going with barrages of drums, riffs and synth producing a track that would not have been out of place within “The Upside-Down” of TV phenomenon Stranger Things!
This 70’s/80’s vibe continues through ‘The Escapist’ but it’s here where the tech-metal twist first takes hold. Layered atop the synth backing come the technical guitar riffs and a wave of blast beats that grab the listeners attention and leave you wanting more.
With the scene now set, the album continues, the keyboards and synth used to perfection, creating new atmospheres with each track, which paint horror/thriller inspired themes in your mind as you listen along.
‘Echoes In The Deep’ has a spine chilling intro before that technical guitar bombardment begins once more. The drums that kick off ‘The Age of Discovery’ feel like bursts of gunfire exploding in your ears long before the synth kicks in.
Throughout the album it’s the musical juxtaposition of the synths melded with the technical guitars that paint the picture for each song. The band produce masterpieces draped in atmospherics but with bursts of metal mastery that leave you in shock and awe all at once.
”The Enigma Division” is a refreshing throwback to when music was really ‘music’ and not factory produced auto-tuned crap. There’s awesome, frightening musicianship, atmospheres, keyboard runs, tight vocals from Wanders while the guitar work by Conor is second to none.
01 – 1977
02 – The Escapist
03 – Echoes in The Deep (feat. Derek Sherinian – Keys)
04 – Afterglow (feat Richard Thomson – Vocals)
05 – The Age of Discovery
06 – Kaleidoscope
07 – Clarity
08 – 1977 (Ad Infinitum)
Ben Wanders – Lead Vocals / Drums
Conor McGouran – Guitars / Keyboards
Ronan Burns – Bass / Keyboards
Guitar Solos on ‘1977 (Ad Infinitum)’:
Sam Bell (1st Solo)
Mal O’Brien (2nd Solo)
Dave Whyte (3rd Solo)
Conor McGouran (4th Solo)
Speech – Carl Sagan