Sound: Industrial metal is that kind of hit and miss music genre which is either a pile of Teutonic nonsense or fused with another, more malleable genre. Most notably there are quite a few bands that combine it with death metal (SYL), thrash metal (Fear Factory), groove metal (Mnemic) and even metalcore (Arkaea). Well here we have Engel, a band that takes all of those influences and throws them at your face like a bucket of bricks. Often called a 'plain old Swedish melodeath band', its really not the case.
Here we have a base of Gothenburg guitar riffing, bass heavy production, tight and precise drumming much akin to Fear Factory with synths and vocals that balance it all out in a 'well this is good but this is bad' situation. Using low low tuning (probably A#) works in their favour as the vocals and other leads are in the high range so much like Mnemic there is a heavy contrast between the high vocals and low instrumentation. There is also this emphasis on grooves, very catchy grooves at that, which keep the flow going in the songs. Somehow the synths seem to elevate the sound throughout although some of them that accompany the drums sound too much like the Ghost-busters theme tune.
But there is the key issue of vocals, which are definitely NOT everyone's cup of tea. Like most Gothenburg bands coming out of the scene these days, the main bulk of harsh vocals sound very much like Bjorn Strid (Soilwork). But the cleans are entirely something else, having more in common with Justin Hill of SikTh fame. However, it again works in their favour because of the contrast between low and high. // 7
Lyrics: Vocals, as mentioned, work with the music although I'm still undecided if I actually like them or not. Its a case of 'listen to the notes, not to the voice' to understand the sonic force behind Engel. The harsh vocals are pretty much spot on for a melodeath act yet the somewhat frail sounding cleans are a little off-putting.
The lyrics are a just a bit plain or somewhat generic, its hard to tell. Safe to say its the usual fare of hyperbolic emotion and determination or some blithering gibberish but for what they are, they work well enough for the band if not being a strong point. And who would listen to a band just for lyrics, unless all you like is rap.
From 'Sense the Fire':
Oh. You and me fight together
Ah, I think I feel the power
Sense the fire // 7
Overall Impression: There's not much to compare it to as its not conformant to one particular genre, instead melding many together to make something like 'Dancy dancy screamy screamy groove metal' or whatever you would call it. Still, its a unique listen, even if at the end you could be thinking 'its similar in a different sort of way'. There's a lot to like about it and not much to say no to but overall its still too adherent to the Gothenburg sound.
Songs to look out for: 'Threnody', 'Until Eternity Ends', 'To The End', 'Heartsick', 'Feed the Weak', 'For those who will resist', 'Every Sin', 'Roll the dice' and 'Perfect Isis'. // 7