Engel - Absolute Design
The ever-growing line of "next big thing"s from Sweden's metal scene was added to last year with the debut of Engel, an act featuring former In Flames guitarist Niclas Engelin. Absolute Design dropped to much critical acclaim, and I am also refreshed by the album's mix of Swedish melo-death (Think In Flames or modern Soilwork) and other metal influences, which shine more here than they do with most other similarly stationed bands. You'll hear vocals that rip like a Wayne Static, a thick and grimy industrial film over some tracks that, combined with Engelin's skill at penning hooks, brings to mind the dance-metal sleaze of a Rob Zombie. Then when the tempo cranks, one is almost sure the band is influenced by certain black metal groups. Variety is the name of the game on Absolute Design.
What you mostly hear from the band is a heavy dose of In Flames, mostly because of Niclas' former participation and somewhat because their vocalist, Anders Friden, recorded and mixed the album, giving it a certain modern metal flair. The riffs are the focal point of almost every song, extremely varied playing that isn't always technically mind-blowing but is always tight and fitting for the moment. As to the In Flames model of song, all of these feature heavier verse sections before giving way into a bombastic chorus. They take the model and fly with it, injecting their own creative spurts at effective moments. They hit all the right notes on tracks like "Next Closed Door", "Propaganda", "Scyth" and my personal favorite, the COB-ish "Calling Out".
Stronger debuts are rarely found, and the experience of the band as a whole has plenty to do with this quick start for Engel. I'm more interested in how they follow this up; changing too much would be a mistake, but it's clear to me that the band is still digging in and finding it's own sound. Their next release will be more telling, but for opening curtains, the solid Absolute Design is worthy of much praise. Here's hoping for bigger and better things in the future; they've certainly got all the potential.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.