For Those Who Will Resist Modern Metalcore
On the surface, Engel comes across as one of those annoying pop-metalcore bands that every "true" metal fan dreads. If we're being honest, this band has almost all of the ingredients that would usually drive me crazy. Pop/rock choruses mixed with melodic metalcore is usually not my thing at all - and with good reason. Many of the bands who play in this genre have very little musical merit whatsoever. But Engel is different. These guys are actually great! I've been listening to Threnody almost non-stop during the past week, and every time I was really excited to give it a spin. These guys seamlessly mix Gothenburg-style death metal, metalcore, industrial metal, and even some pop/rock and progressive metal. Engel is an eclectic, highly-enjoyable group despite any preconceptions you may have due to the people who dare to lump this great band with the likes of Dead By April.
Threnody is a really consistent album all the way through. Though there are a few moments that aren't too enjoyable for me, every song is redeemed somehow. Whether it is a memorable chorus, great instrumental break, or terrific bridge, every song finds a way to be of high-quality. The album starts out with one of the heaviest tracks, "Six Feet Deep", which has a great chorus and a cool industrial edge. Songs like "For Those Who Will Resist" and "Every Sin (Leaves a Mark)" are great, heavy tracks as well. Surprisingly enough, the softer ballad, "To the End", is actually an amazing song. These guys can pull off a ballad without sounding cheesy and uninspired, and I really applaud them for that. "Perfect Isis" is another softer song that's also really good. One of the weaker songs is "Feed the Weak", but it's still decent. The verses are somewhat banal, but the chorus saves the song from complete mediocrity. As a whole, this is a really good album with nice amount of variation and consistency.
The musicians in Engel are a real treat to listen to. Not only are they highly professional and proficient, their playing style is very inspired. My favorite aspect of Engel is probably Magnus "Mangan" Klavborn's vocals. Although I don't always enjoy the metalcore shouts, his clean voice is terrific. The four instrumentalists are great as well, never sacrificing melody for complexity and "heaviness". There are tons of tasteful guitar licks and drum patterns on Threnody.
The production is great. Although some may find it to be slightly over-produced, I think it sounds great. The electronics sound especially terrific, as the synths and industrial influences can be extremely hypnotic. The bass sounds great, the drums are pitch-perfect, and the overall sound is just tremendous.
I must confess that I was very surprised by Threnody. Though I was expecting a competent industrial metalcore album, Engel really surprised me with a highly enjoyable experience. Although this isn't an album that I'll put on too often in the future, the quality is absolutely undeniable. If you like metalcore that isn't all about making money from emo teenagers, Engel is a band well-worth checking out! I'll give Threnody a solid 3.5 star rating. I can't wait to hear more from this band.
1. Six Feet Deep
2. Sense The Fire
3. For Those Who Will
4. Feed The Weak
5. To The End
6. Every Sin (Leaves A Mark)
11. Perfect Isis