Engel - Absolute Design

With a line-up boasting such an incredible pedigree, it’s not entirely unreasonable for us to expect that Engel’s debut album “Absolute Design” to have a certain quality about it, which definitely does. Fronted by former Gardenian guitarist Niclas Engelin, who is the main instigator of this new band comprised by ex-The Crown axeman Marcus Sunesson, Mikael Håkansson of Evergrey fame on bass, Daniel Moilanen from Project Hate/ex-Lord Belial on drums and vocalist Mangan Klavborn, Engel certainly have some impressive credentials and more importantly great songs to back them up.
On the surface, it looks like the quintet retains many of the characteristics of Niclas previous group, but closer inspections reveal a more American oriented-groove influence, I guess it was a matter of time Swedish bands started returning the favour and Engel belong to that short list that looks towards the other side of the Atlantic to draw inspiration. But it’s not an easy task to pin down exactly where those influences reside, names like Prong, Static-X and Rob Zombie occasionally spring to mind, but merely as reference points. As for Swede-philia, it’s definitely In Flames and Passenger that resurfaces, curiously two bands Engelin have played with in the past. Opener “In Splendour” for instance has those chugging riffs typical of Static-X merged with In Flames sense of melody, an impressive combination that will surely convince the most stiff-necked of you to bang and tap to its infectious rhythm. Following next, is the mechanical groove of “Casket Closing” subtly enriched with electronics and a super catchy chorus. On both “Next Closed Door” and “The Hurricane Season”, the band dwells into the more melodic territories recalling the immediacy of Misery Loves Company, only to pick up a faster and more aggressive pace on “Propaganda” and “Scythe”.
Produced by In Flames vocalist Anders Fridén with the assistance of Daniel Bergstrand, “Absolute Design” is a really tight and disciplined work and even some inevitable fillers doesn’t detract its impact. Great stuff! (8/10)

Band info: www.engelpropaganda.com
Label info: www.spv.de