Engel: Threnody

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Engel: Threnody
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Engel: Threnody
Industrial, Melodic Death Metal
Season of Mist Records
January, 2011
Release length: 44:57
Myspace
Engel is a band that hasn’t received the warmest of receptions in the Metal community. Hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden, a region known for many well established Melodic Death Metal acts, the band is a Melodic Death Metal act that utilizes some Industrial elements, but also incorporates a more Alternative sound on some of their material, giving many tracks a more radio friendly appeal in the same vein which some heavier mainstream acts like Bullet for My Valentine. Threnody is in no way comparable to that band, though many of the Metal staples exist here, though they do help to create a hook-filled radio-friendly Melodic Death Metal release. However, to many, it will be nothing special and simply sound like a heavier Linkin Park.

The material on Threnody varies greatly, and the amount of Alternative input is generally pretty obvious. The album starts out with the intense Industrial-heavy “Six Feet Deep”, which shows the band’s ability to incorporate some really heavy material, and load it up with enough hooks that the melody to the song does become addicting, as well as makes for one of the better tracks off the album. Of course, some of the lighter material focuses solely on these hooks, reaching out to a much lighter demographic, utilizing more harsher vocals and clean singing then screaming, as well as some Industrial effects in the background of the music to try to add an extra layer to the music and appeal to a specific niche of that style’s fan base. However, sometimes it just becomes very irritating. “Sense the Fire” makes for the first lighter track off the album, and it honestly isn’t that bad, though clearly meant to earn a lot of radio airplay with it’s lighter Grunge-inspired chords mixed with melody, as well as simple yet catchy chorus. However, there is just this random tamborine being hit in robotic precision through much of the song, and while it is on time with the instruments, it just sticks out like a sore thumb, and when you pick up on it, it’s almost impossible to block out and ignore.

For the most part, the material follows the example set up on “Sense the Fire”, though some other exceptions exist. While there are still some heavier tracks like “Six Feet Deep”, there are other songs on here that really do focus more into the Alternative approach of music for this band. “To the End” comes off more as a lighter song that was intended as some kind of ballad, utilizing most acoustic instruments for some of the slower moments, and the music kicking in as a sorrowful Alternative Rock track that builds with each Chorus that is hit, leaving behind the initial Melodic Death and Industrial concepts of the album, feeling completely out of place, though it’s not genuinely a bad song. The clean singing on this album, however, does become somewhat annoying, and this song is what can do them in. The approach is somewhat nasally and sometimes sounds like they are being done by a teenager, much like Chester of the band Linkin Park, which is a band that has some inspirational ties that can be traced in some of these songs, including “Every Sin (Leaves a Mark)”, which features some great keyboards that make this an enjoyable song. Due to this, the vocals can sound whiny at times, and often don’t quite reflect the stronger material on here, being rather innocent when a much stronger, authorative type of tone to the vocals would work better to not clash with the music. The perfect example here is the track “Down”, where the vocals seem to delve into a more Emo approach, though the song itself isn’t necessarily a strong, heavy song in the first place, as it seems like just a harder version of something that may appear in a family-based film along the lines of Scooby-Doo. Of course, the vocal harmonization on this track sounds full, and really stands out.

What it all comes down to is what kind of music you enjoy. There’s a lot going on in such a small frame of time on Threnody that is simply will not please someone going in for only one style, and because of how drastically different some of these style can be, it could be very upsetting to some. While the Melodic Death Metal and Industrial elements make for some nice combinations, such as with “Six Feet Deep”, “For Those Who Will Resist”, and “Threnody”, there will be tracks on here that wind up countering it. This would be due to the more Alternative style the band brings in and gives a nice heavier edge to them, such as “To the End”, “Every Sin (Leaves a Mark)”, and “Down”, leading to some more accessible tracks for the public, and not just to those looking for heavier material that stands out from every other band on today’s Modern Rock stations. However, for all listeners, the vocal issue is also going to split people apart, and the worst part is that, for the higher nasally sound that becomes a little generic and annoying after a while, seems to be countered horribly with a much deeper Danzig-like approach that hits on the closing track, “Perfect Isis”, which, which also has a heavy Danzig-like musical composition to it, could easily have complimented any number of lighter tracks on here.

Threnody is an album that is open to many music fansone side will like about half the album, the other side will have the same thing happen to them. Of course, the lighter material often becomes repetitive, and just not have the same kind of bite, and some of the random tamborine effects utilized on this album, like mentioned with “Sense the Fire”, as well as “Threnody”, are simply maddening. Engel have put together a nice contribution to the growing Melodic Death/Alternative style, but for many it’s just not that great an album, and everyone is going to experience it differently. This very open release show great potential from the band, much like their previous outing, Absolute Design, and stays consistent throughout the album with only a few exceptions, but the music seems to just use a lot of today’s Melodic Death stereotypes, as the scream verse, sing chorus concept, as well as generic chords, as well as holds traces of Alternative compositions with bands similar to them, such as the aforementioned Linkin Park, it’s hard to look at this album and really feel it will make a huge impact on this style, and aside a few songs, will probably be forgotten in the long run.

01. Six Feet Deep – 3:22
02. Sense the Fire – 4:20
03. For Those Who Will Resist – 3:41
04. Feed the Weak – 4:16
05. To the End – 4:02
06. Every Sin (Leaves a Mark) – 3:32
07. Down – 3:49
08. Heartsick – 4:34
09. Threnody – 3:54
10. Burn – 3:27
11. Perfect Isis – 6:00
Initial Pressing Score: 3/10

Engel
Engel

Digital review copy of this release provided by Revalve Records.