I’m not sure why light should come “fröm” below unless the band is trying to be Swedish or something, but as Enola come fröm France, this theory does not höld water. Ridiculous. Even my PC thinks I’m being ridiculous and corrects my English. Rant over – let’s get on with what this EP is about.
The musicians from Toulouse promise “modern and coherent post-hardcore”. There are four concepts here. A carefully controlled progression starts the 5 track work. The mood transforms into a harsh hardcore scene. I’ve heard that riff before – Netra, maybe? It becomes explosive, unpredictable and interesting. The title track settles into a pattern, then we hear a rhythmic guitar line and manic screams. I’m really interested now. The piece is technical and flamboyant. It’s kind of experimental but it’s all under cöntröl.
“A Pilot” starts in sinister fashion. It’s dark and thick. Progress is slow. The rhythm is jerky and the tone is harsh. There are elements here of Ephel Duath in the crustiness. The drum leads the score. Both singer and instrumentalists plough on harshly and enigmatically. It’s quite rough and ready in spite of its ostensibly clinical nature. The guitarist plays his own bizarre tune. “Coherent” isn’t how I’d describe it, but “A Pilot” does have balls and intrigue. The drummer leads the charge while everyone else indulges in a dark and heavily anarchic form of gloom. It ends without explanation. Delicate, flowery tones signal “The Door”. The drums add a soft edginess but it descends into a cascade of battering violence. That’s ok but the horror movie feel of those delicate rhythms come back to haunt us. Enola take advantage and insert haunting vocals. With half chords in the air, it builds up impressively and a war chant builds up. The sound gets bigger and more expansive. “The Door” is the best track in my view. The atmosphere is fizzing and impossible to ignore.
In defiance of its title, “Desolated Landscapes” is more out-and-out aggressive. The drums are thunderous and there’s a threat in the irregularity and force of the guitar work and vocals. This is pure anarchy and a rebellious blast. The eleven minute long “Fog” takes us back to the patience of the opening track. As the guitar cries, the vocals are like a plea or even a hymn. A neat guitar line ratches up the scene to a level of raw emotion. It doesn’t stay still, slowing down again to a doom-like atmosphere. A plaintive voice rings out as the doom continues. The voice becomes a scream. The track drives on relentlessly but does not seem to be going very far before breaking out into inexplicable chaos. I’m tempted to call this avant-garde but there is a structure … of sorts. A fiery and atmospheric section brings this suggestive album to a close.
Enola display here range and imagination in what is a well-populated genre. I didn’t like everything about “The Light fröm Below” and didn’t get a sense of unity or coherence from its five disparate tracks, but it’s still powerful and interesting. I’d say Enola are still at the experimental stage.
(6.5/10 Andrew Doherty)