As a reviewer it’s always interesting what pieces of material get sent your way. One question you start asking yourself will be “is this album going to be worth listening to?” So when I received an email with an album entitled “The Blackened Heart” by Swedish melodic metal band Enbound; well, it would be rude not to have a listen especially with such a stellar lineup and history.
The operatic vocal harmonies from lead vocalist Lee Hunter (Lars Säfsund) during “Falling” gave the album a peaceful introduction but don’t let this fool you as the second the rest of the band kick, including founding member and drummer Mike Cameron Force, the listener is greeted to a thunderous collection of guitar riffs and symphonic keyboard sounds. Though subtle the addition of guest vocalist Linnéa Wikström’s (Kamelot/Therion) higher vocal range was an excellent combination alongside Lee.
Speaking of Kamelot and Therion, it was obvious the band were heavily influenced by these groups when putting together this album, primarily in the tracks “Give Me Light” and “Get Ready For” as a wide mixture of musical styles were present; from the pure melodic metal sound to calming ballad breaks.
For only releasing their second album it was amazing how a band so fresh could have an amazing collection of guests, with Linnéa’s vocals during “Falling” plus Symphony X bassist Mike LePond who didn’t shy away from showing off a variety of bass techniques to help add an additional depth for “Feel My Flame.” While LePond is only featured in one song this didn’t stop moments where the bass took control of a song as the band’s bassist Swede “Machine Gun Fingers” Odén added a short but sweet lick for the intro for “Holy Grail.”
With such a fast paced album it was nice for the band to take a break for “They Don’t Really Know” and it was here where Lee Hunter’s moved away from a Tim “Ripper” Owens style vocals and brought forth a voice that was built from his vast musical experience. This reviewer even gave a standing ovation after listening breath taking performance.
So, final thoughts? This album sure did take me by surprise with its mixture of tight and mind blowing musical pieces, to an outstanding album production. I could see why this band took so long in unleashing this album because as the old saying goes “you can’t rush perfection” and perfection is what you will hear with this stunning collection of work from Enbound.
Falling (featuring Linnéa Wikström) / Give Me Light / Crossroad / Get Ready For / Feel My Flame (featuring Mike LePond) / Twelve / Holy Grail / HIO / They Don’t Really Know / Make You So Unreal.