Similar to Danish Pop Metallers RAUNCHY and to even some extent a less complex MNEMIC, it’s surprising that the Swedish band ENGEL hasn’t come across my palette before. Understandably, “Threnody” is only their second full-length effort, but it took their leading man and guitarist Niclas Engelin to become the guitarist in IN FLAMES to get them into my eye line.
This is quite a sad statement since their second record is quite a solid Modern Metal affair. Combing elements of Industrial synths to a Gothenburg combination of Power Metal and Melodic Death, they have the right arrangement to create a sound that’s both catchy and punchy. “Threnody” does this impressively well.
Giving enough of that Metal ferocity and edge to quench the darker side of the music to a sound that’s relatively user friendly enough with its almost Pop like croons and melodies, ENGEL strikes a balance that only Modern Metal and utilize. The band ably leaps between crunchy Metal riffs and double bass mayhem with roared shouts into melodic intertwined acoustics and synths with those Pop catch choruses (like on the ballad “To The End”). Every song combines these elements in a variety of ways that keep the album diverse enough to lead the listener deeper into their style. The super catchy single in waiting “Sense In Fire,” the swing beat oriented “Feed The Weak,” or the winding melancholic closer “Perfect Isis” show how this sound can be used in different ways and in these ways, with their Metal rhythms and Pop melodies, ENGEL craft a solid sophomore effort.
That being said, “Threnody” utilizes a sound that’s not necessarily the most unique either. It’s easy to see why Engelin was chosen for the new IN FLAMES line up, as this style is very similar to the one they have been dabbling with for years. Even other bands like the previously mentioned RAUNCHY and MNEMIC haven been forging new territory in this style long before this release. ENGEL might not be rewriting pages for the genre with their music, but if you are a fan of any of these other bands then this album is good enough to be a must buy for you.
With their leading man now off to play with the big boys, this might be your last chance to really delve into this band in a release that’s focused and well crafted. If you can’t stand those Pop/synths in your Metal then I advise avoiding, but if your mind is open enough to enjoy Modern Metal then this album is a definite pick up. Hopefully ENGEL will continue on this path in the near future.
Songs to check out: “Six Feet Deep,” “For Those Who Will Resist,” “Every Sin (Leaves A Mark).”
(Online April 5, 2011)