Enterprise Earth, which I learned a long time ago has nothing to do with Star Trek, seems to have gone through more lineup changes than the number of red shirts killed in all three seasons of the original Star Trek television series. Captained by lead vocalist, Dan Watson, Enterprise Earth has had a bit of a bumpy ride over the years, but certainly makes a strong statement with their newest record, The Chosen.
"Reanimate-Disintegrate" immediately strikes me as a standout. This banger shows the band firing on all cylinders and using their musicianship to the best of their abilities. The chord progressions, the bass and the vocals are so cohesive, and that's what's needed in a 6+ minute deathcore song. Note also how the breakdown is not what listeners might be accustomed to – it's a bit of a surprise in terms of how they carefully weave it in.
Admittedly, I like this second track more than the first single, "Where Dreams Are Broken." Not that it doesn't grab you, because it does, but it doesn't have quite as much depth and originality as "Reanimate-Disintegrate." Personally, my dreams were broken a long time ago, so maybe it's just me.
The title track, unleashes some absolutely beautiful soloing and breathtaking vocal harmonies. That sounds weird for this genre, especially for those of us over 40. But Enterprise Earth makes it work. The lovely outro that gives more low end than Snoop Dogg rollin' in his '64 further cements my adoration for this song. Some of the tracks following, however, are a bit more generic. It's good to be familiar, but there also needs to be more nuance and texture to keep this band moving forward. "I Have to Escape," for example, is a song we've really heard before. Not bad, but little in terms of surprise. Add this to the fact that there are a whopping 14 tracks on the record and one has to wonder if a slightly shorter, punchy record might have been a better strategy. Sometimes this record feels like sitting through Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. It's a bit too much.
Now, there still are some surprises on the record, I do love the clean vocals and melancholy intro of "Overpass," which then takes us into a slightly restrained breakdown. Four minutes in are some lush guitar solos. It all works musically and emotionally. This type of song is where Enterprise Earth shines, where the listener is given something surprising… something novel. I want to hear more of this.
Those fantastic solos abound in other tracks as well, such as "You Couldn't Save Me." You might say it saves an otherwise lackluster song. My advice to Enterprise Earth is to take a page out of the K.K. Downing playbook and fervently embrace one of the things you do best – guitar solos!
Fans are going to love the signature heartfelt, emotive lyrics and the fact that there is some diversity on this record. Note that all three singles released so far definitely are unique and embrace a slightly different auricular composition. The latest single, "Legends Never Die," exemplifies this.
Enterprise Earth fans are going to really enjoy this album and Dan Watson continues to grow as a vocalist in terms of both his delivery and range. This winter's upcoming tour, where they're featured with Fit for an Autopsy, is going to find many new fans beaming on board.