Posted on by Oran

Prog-metal trio The Enigma Division have just released their debut self titled album and as debuts go, they are firing on all cylinders here.

All former members of the band Xerath, Conor McGouran (guitars) Ronan Burns (bass, keyboards) and Ben Wanders (drums, vocals) have described their sound as Tech-Noir” as it incorporates our love for atmospheric 80’s synth music, film score, and science fiction, combined with extremely groove laden heavy riffs. I think they’ve nailed that description on the head.

The album opening intro ‘1977’  starts with a sci-fi-esque soundscape, brooding like the opening sequence to a big budget movie before the staccato duo of drum & guitar end the track, we then have The Escapist with an opening riff that would not out of place on a Fear Factory album.

Djent down-tuned guitars groove along as soothing to brooding vocals that almost remind me of Karl Middleton from Earthtone 9, layered with bucket-loads of synth, sit side by side, within the first two minutes of the first ‘song’ you know what you are going to get going forwards.

A couple of standout tracks for me are ‘Afterglow’ which features a soaring guest vocal from Richard Thomson who at moments sounds like Canadian Mad Genius Sir Devin of Townsend. ’The Age of Discovery’ is a headbanger from the get-go with huge pummelling double bass drumming throughout and a special mention to album closer ‘1977 – Ad Infintium’ a 20-minute instrumental (save for some spoken word passages) prog juggernaut.

Finishing as the album began with more sci-fi synths and groove riffery, and count them… four guitar solos, as the last notes fade, this wouldn’t be out of place in a Blade Runner spin off.

The songwriting and arrangements throughout the record are second to none and with a handful of guest appearances including Derek Sherinian (Dream Theater/Sons Of Apollo), and Sam Bell (Mask Of Judas) adding even more flair.

The ‘Prog World’ have a new addition to their family, one of which I hope will see The Enigma Division flourish. I for one will be eagerly awaiting for their Bloodstock appearance later this year. 4/5

Pick up a copy of The Enigma Division’s debut via this link.

The Enigma Division

DJ 2023