[sic] Magazine

Gifts From Enola – Gifts From Enola

I’ve never understood why the genre descriptor ‘instrumetal’ hasn’t been more readily adopted to describe instrumental metal bands, especially when ridiculously awful terms like ‘chillwave’ have stuck around. Too literal? Too functional? Who knows. Anyway, Gifts From Enola are an instrumetal band from Virginia and this is their fourth album (fifth if you count Harmonic Motion , their split release with You.May.Die.In.The.Desert ).

The five-track album opens with its strongest track, ‘Lionized’, which is chock to the brim with massive riffs, smooth transitions carrying the listener rapt between each of the deftly handled sections. Once its rather forgettable intro is out of the way, ‘Dime And Suture’ does some strong ducking and weaving, standing up pretty well against the stunning opener. So far, so good. If the rest of the album was as well-developed as these two tracks, GFE would have a rather fine release on their hands. Sadly, this is not the case.

Album centrepiece ‘Alagoas’ is probably the weakest track, with the guitars cleaned up and playing jazzy chords to try and conjure a more languid atmosphere, but it all falls rather flat, especially when the rhythm section chugs along, business as usual. The final two tracks are OK, akin to the rest of the material in feel, but the melodies aren’t nearly as memorable. And, as with most instrumetal albums, I get a bit tired of all the hi-gain guitarwork after about half-an-hour and just switch off.

One point of potential interest is that the band does try some vocals on a couple of tracks, but the delivery is so half-arsed and the voices so deeply buried in the mix that they barely register as effective contributions to the songs. Could be a potential area for development, though, if GFE are looking for new directions?

If you’re a fan of instrumetal, GFE do a decent job, especially on the first couple of songs. Other than that, this is basically a middling instrumental guitar album from one of the countless instrumental guitar bands out there.