Album Review: Enhalo – “The Great Dying” (Progressive Metal)

Written by: Valkyrjiaa

Release Date: April 8th, 2022

Progressive Metal from Dallas, Texas

Label: Independent

The genre of Progressive Metal has seen more growth over the last two years than what I believe any other has seen. With the experimentation of metal elements creating atmospheric wonder, vivid illusion, and temperamental breakdowns, it’s no wonder this genre has seen an out pouring of brilliant compositions and wild creations.

Solo project Enhalo is no different with the release of “The Great Dying” – a 5-track composition that combines elements of classic heavy metal, with instrumental creativity, and inspiring sound to create something peculiar and intriguing.

Starting off with the track “Gazing into the Abyss”, heavy drums beat to an unseen cause. We feel as if we’re marching into battle, or away from the fight with the drums the only motivation to urge us forward. It’s atmospheric, offering up the feel of a desert oasis while simultaneously creating a swirl of a two-moon skyline. Gentle instrumentals touch upon fragile keys, as an acoustic set builds towards something greater, something much darker than we can fathom. As speed and sound take over, guitars blend with drums for a solo that provides an odd contrast before letting the double-kickers take hold, tossing wonder out the window and dropping mayhem at our feet.

“Staring Back” goes in on a deep bass line, adding bits of guitar to create a mix up with an unclear direction. Soon enough, the path becomes clear and we are met by a creature that stares back with the same horror we bestow upon their sudden presence. Fear takes hold and we are thrown into a mess of fury and fight for survival against sharp guitar riffs, stomping bass, and wild bass. It’s a track that feels straight out of a manga panel, with the shadows of illustrations casting the knowledge of fight or flight upon its readers. The eclectic mix of riffs and accompanying instrumentals create a fight for your life scenario with dodges to sword slashes being visualized with sharp riffs and haphazardly placed drumming.

The song, “Purifier” is an instrumental cascade of bone-shattering riffs, double-kicker chaos, and metal glory. It feels like the soundtrack to a 90’s RPG like Final Fantasy as you wander aimlessly through the broken town or battered ruins to discover a powerful secret. There’s eerie calm, and the feeling of something watching your back upon you throughout this song but, the gentleness it offers in small intervals is illusive. What plagues your mind with purpose is the same that haunts your resolve as pianos add experimental layers to only heighten the tension and pale the environment with despair.

“Sharp Hips and Short Vibrations” sounds fun and begins as such. With quick notes and rapid drums, this track has a bit of everything from finger-mastery on chords, to freeing keys that add a fantasy element to the fold. It’s simply chaotic, with no real direction until its midway point where you’re thrown into a boss battle, waiting for the scene to end and the next to begin. The constant presence of guitars is almost foreboding, as speckles of backing instrumentals build a strange, mystical aura that is set ablaze. Of course, that light-hearted feel doesn’t linger long as heavy drums beat us down until we submit in a white noise end.

The fifth and final track is “A Moment Frozen in Time” that shatters the album with a sledgehammer of drums and elevated riffs, collapsing into a bass-heavy rhythm of distortion and anxiety. Gentle chords offer a temporary relief from the mind-shattering musical complexities this album has already thrown at us before once more battering us like a ship on rough waters. Rapid drumming picks up to get you moving while the backing orchestration keeps the story alive, filling your mind with images of battle, loss, and frustration. Do you push forward, or do you give in to the heaviness surrounding you?

The Bottom Line

This album is unyielding in its feverish objective to offer up a new division of Prog metal with its techno death, symphonic elements, and heaviness combined. It feels like an endless journey through an RPG hellscape we’ve put at the back of our minds, rekindled to relate to a modernized horror. If you’ve been craving something wild in the Progressive Metal scene but, you’ve grown tired of the vocals, this album is sure to quench your blood-thirsty metal needs.

Favourite Track: Purifier

Bandcamp: Enhalo