The collective project ‘Enko’ started off as a studio project between friends, Alex Coombes and Jacob Gates. After writing enough material for their first EP and the recording process had started, they decided to develop Enko into a fully-fledged band. Both Alex and Jacob have very different influences as guitarists but share a common love of modern progressive music. This made the songwriting process an interesting mix of prog, post-rock and more “traditional” instrumental guitar music resulting in this self-titled 4 track debut EP.
Enko also has its own unique, unmistakable sound. It is a sound that is equally progressive and harmonic, pretty and punishing, and is dense and complex, one that is as rewarding as it is challenging. In fact, Enko populate the dynamic, soft-heavy and fast-slow sound.
And they hone it to a tee on this recording. Alex Coombes and Jacob Gates guitar chops are as sizable as ever, and Jack Sunaway’s bass is tight and precise throughout. The drums, meanwhile, is typically quite prominent in the mix; the lead guitar lines are expansive, and find a fine balance between twisted screams and supple melodic cruising.
The EP begins with a fairly prototypical epic instrumental, curiously-dubbed “Horizons” and which finds dramatic, dexterous drum beats underpinning spindly, robust and melodic guitar lines which hit an imposing wall of heaviness comprised of lumbering riffs and rushing shreds. “Titan” offsets a screaming melody with thunderously churning guitar and bass riffs, moving grooves, and brutal beats before breaking right down to a breath of twinkling clean guitar lines.
“Glass Sea”, is a super gorgeous and ambient melodic brooder that showcases the band’s knack for calm and serene soundscapes, but complex guitar interplay, before exploding into more satisfying guitar crunch and some really excellent and inventive drum programming.
“Pathfinder” is another good piece of progressive rock fusion, and a very worthy inclusion in this EP’s already immensely impressive collection of songs. Enko seems like a logical move for Alex Coombes in light of his previous work. The tracks are tense and full of great ideas, many with crushing bridges and extended meanderings, along with the seamless digressions into guitar histrionics and harmony that keeps you waiting for the next flip of the coin, so to speak.
The EP “Enko” unleashes the intense guitar skills of Alex Coombes and Jacob Gates, together with groove master Jack Sunaway, for our musical enjoyment. Like most progressive instrumental recordings of this type, the EP is an artwork from musicians aiming to achieve the best they are capable of both in creativity and performance.
The performances are stunning, the sound and production is huge, but most importantly the music is impacting and although it hits you immediately there are lots of layers to discover with repeat listening. Enko feels inspired and accessible – a perfect combination!