Enceladus - Journey to Enlightenment

Enceladus Journey to Enlightenment cover
Journey to Enlightenment
Independent Release
First of all let me say that I pretty much enjoyed the straight ahead metal of Hierophant quite a bit even if it was a little bit around the edges, since they were one of the few bands playing like that in their “lands” so when I saw that the band included a couple of ex-members of the now defunct band, I was partial to that. Now however there are a couple of thing that made me raise my eyebrow a bit. Obviously googling around for a name or opening a thesaurus or an encyclopedia (most probably googling these days) one might have figured out that Enceladus apart from a quite sizable moon of Saturn was a giant in Ancient Greek mythology and the cause for earthquakes, hence since the band is really playing some pretty straight power metal and not some mega loud and quaking metal, choosing a name with a bit of a negative connotation, I just dunno, I guess they thought it sounded cool? Right?
Anyhow… as I said before the band has this taste for quite fast and technical power metal with high pitched vocals that hardly drop from a constant high speed, high energy, quite thin yet not lacking a certain amount of grit at times vocals that often antagonize the guitars for pitch. Their vocalist Soikkam, is not bad, but he can be a bit of an acquired taste at his higher pitched parts where he becomes a bit marginal or tends to flatten/green out a bit, unavoidably.
The band calls their music “Cosmic Enlighten Metal” and in that respect they reminded me a lot of Lost Horizon, but Soikkam is nowhere near as brilliant as Daniel ever was or as full in his higher echelon, I mean Heiman was a beast in his high regions with real strength rivaled by only a few vocalists in those octaves. They are however quite reminiscent of the overall whacked style and have this “tasteful” style that is European-influenced, even if they are Americans, which elevates them from being for instance considered something like a Dragonforce-also-run. With the exception of that silly console-song that made them quite famous, that band’s quite the definition of “dull” songwriting and even worse performances. However the rather one trick that Enceladus knows to pull off, becomes rather tiresome fast, and it doesn’t matter how many times Soikkam, hits some high notes, well or not too well, before it becomes a little too predictable, structure-wise.
While the instrumental opener “Journey to Enlightenment” does little to betray much of the band’s style as soon as “Live or Submit” hits you get a taste of how things are going to be and it does’t change much for the duration of the rest of the album. Sure songs like the slightly more dynamic “Awakened Eyes”, “Pave the Future (Save Our Minds)” which while almost identical shows more of a parchment for melodic soloing than before and “Darkened Aura” that tries to slow down things only to just return to the bands usual breakneck tempo only after the first few intro bars... try to offer a bit of variety but it’s not until the final few songs on the album that things get really interesting and different with more variable speeds and ideas taking the fore. In reality it was the songs from “Time in a Dream” up to the finishing “Book of Pure Evil” with is weird intro that I found most gratifying. Really, if the band cools off from the ultra-fast tempos and the ultra-high pitches – they do seem capable enough to do some pretty decent songwriting these guys… I’d be keeping an eye for some future seismic activity ye know…