Reflecting on the world’s troubled state nowadays, composer/songwriter/singer/lyricist/art director/manager/actor/producer Max Enix will be dropping his latest concept album Far From Home on the 9th of June 2023 via Wormholedeath Records. Mixing his diverse influences, Enix creates a progressive heavy piece that’ll take you on a long interesting trip with the help of Thomas Kubler (additional arrangements/orchestrator), Hugo Williame (additional drums programming), François Rousselot (conductor), Victor Monteriggioni (copyist), Leo Margarit (drums), Vikram Shankar (Piano/Keyboards), Jean-Jacques Moréac (Bass), Xavier Boscher (guitars), EliseWachbar (vocals), the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, and loads of others on vocals and guitars that we’re going to mention along the way. Let’s dig deeper into it

Far From Home opens with a haunting monk chant by Laurent Lunoir at The End of an Era’s intro, promising a big sound with melancholic vibes. It smoothly progresses from the soft orchestral conversation into a more progressive/power metal epic sound, getting heavier with extremely dynamic sections, a killer solo by Per Nilsson, and vocals from Max Enix and Elise Wachbar that prepares the listener for the journey ahead. Pushing the dynamics harder comes Tears of Earth, boosting our journey to full speed with a structure that I’ve heard nothing like before. Freely playing around with genres, Enix mixes diverse approaches and vocal deliveries in a powerful enjoyable structure with the help of Fabio Lione, Michael Onetwent, and Elise WachbarCity of Mortals has a -dare I say- ballad core beyond its highly energetic breakdowns and pounding heavy parts, there’s a subtle soft sound that it kept coming around to, showing Enix’s diverse creative writing and his clever way of handling Toby Driver and Elise Wachbar’s vocal contributions and Xavier Boscher brilliant soloing. Hitting hard with fluid melodies and escalating sound, Prayer of the Gods comes next. It has an exciting uplifting sound with bright flowing vocals from Andy Kuntz and Max Enix and heavy well-arranged and orchestrated guitar work with cool shredding moments. It has smooth emotional shifts with Angèle Macabiès neatly layered atmospheric vocals with the large, tiding heavy parts that turn its sound upside down, and on again for another big progression all leading to a final dramatic ending. In This Forgotten Paradise comes like an art piece that’s been painted by Enix’s words and brought to life by an amazing vocal performance from Max EnixElise Wachbar, and Farhad Hossain, all coming together like puzzle pieces completing each other before merging in remarkable crescendo. This mesmerizing progression’s backbone and the main dynamic controller are powerful orchestrations that delivered perfect emotions with excellent arrangements, leading to a killer solo by Xavier Boscher. Pushing the dynamics harder again comes An Illusional Kiss with a folky sound, a power metal drive, and loads of orchestrations. As we slowly open our eyes and realize the truth, the story is perfectly delivered by Elise Wachbar’s angelic voice, Max Enix and Tom Englund’s expressiveness, and Luciana Lys’ powerful wide-ranged pipes. Max Enix and David Readman play a fierce vocal game in The Dark And Bright Tunnel. In a heavy pounding setup, The Dark And Bright Tunnel pushes with a flowing groove and theatrical progression, leading to a pure modern progressive twist with a playful solo from Xavier Boscher that made things super interesting before ending the song with a banging statement. With multi-layered diverse sound and pace comes The Forsaken Ocean powered by the collaboration with vocalist/guitarist Devon Graves. A solid everchanging piece with tight orchestrations, insanely shredding solos from Xavier Boscher and Mattias Ekhlund, and a jazzy groove led by an extremely enjoyable drumline. Ending CD1 on a high note. Childhood Emotions eases us into CD2 with a melodic flow and big soundscapes with a beautiful conversation with Johanna Red. Boosting the record’s energy, The Broken Face comes with full force with intense sound and strong decisive delivery with a super fitting collaboration with Marcela Bovio and heart-hitting solos from Xavier Boscher, and an epic solo from Michael Romeo Beyond My Blood offers a different interesting melodic approach and a touch of subtle evilness. It has fast, roaring orchestrations, energetic drumming, significant touches from Mahdi Khemakhem and Elise Wachbar, and a killer guitar-hero solo by Stéphan Forté. The guitar/piano conversation at the opening of Mirrors Of Time took away my breath. The smooth, flowing melodies went softly creating a dreamy peaceful mood that was completed by Heather Findlay and Damian Wilson’s vocals. The escalating orchestrations keep on slowly and smoothly taking over the sound, giving it more depth and a bigger one that portrays a whole theme, in a twisting structure with dramatic ups and downs. Max Enix shows an extremely brutal side of his writing in Angels Of The Apocalyptic Storm, unleashing some machinegun riffs in collaboration with vocalist/guitarist Benjamin Guerry and harsh aggressive vocals by Niklas Kvarforth, Mody Ptd, and Benjamin Guerry. Pushing his sound boundaries and portraying a dramatic change of events, in a sound driven by an unstoppable dynamic flow that’s backed by a wall of orchestrations as usual. The title track Far From Home comes at the end, ending this long journey with an epic masterpiece with heavy names from all around the metal world. Enix‘s collaboration with Jon Pyres, Dan Swano, Toby Driver, Kobi Farhi, Carsten Schulz, David Fremberg, Elise Wachbar, Michael Onetwenty, and Laurene Telennaria all on vocals gave a rich narrative with multiple storylines and never-ending melodic possibilities as everyone has something unique to offer. Steered and orchestrated by Max Enix, Far From Home is the perfect ending for such a remarkable sound journey with well-written and layered melodies and elements all were wisely arranged through its 27-minute-long highly dynamic structure with loads of changes and multiple instrumentations, with solid mood cementing solos from Shad Mae, Sébastien Dubail, and Timo Somers alongside one of the tightest orchestrations of the record. Great ending for an unforgettable journey. 

Highlighting the effort made by himself, Thomas Kubler (orchestrator), François Rousselot (Conductor), and the Budapest Symphony Orchestra, Max Enix released a bonus orchestral version of Far From Home. Removing the vocals, solos, and heavy instruments has shed light on Far From Home’s brilliant orchestrations and made me look at the songs from a whole new perspective. This version will make you realize how carefully the vocal melodies were written and how strong they were backed by the atmospheric orchestrations, creating the perfect smooth build-ups and guiding the songs’ dynamics turning soft sparkling melodies into roaring waves smoothly and without losing their flow. The power of vocal harmonies and chores shine brightly in the version, the threatening effect they have and how they can lift the song’s energy up is quite amazing. Those arrangements have their very own character, it is strong and fierce and sometimes paints a complete picture with breathtaking soundscapes, acting like a well-crafted movie score, showing musicianship and high attention to detail. They helped me connect with the songs on a deeper level emotionally, I believe I’ll be playing those for quite a while. 

Far From Home with both versions is an extremely enjoyable ride, Max Enix took his time in polishing and perfecting every detail making every moment count, creating a solid masterpiece of an album that’ll get him and the listener on the same wavelength emotionally and musically. Looking forward to more from Max Enix. Cheers!