ENGEL – Blood of Saints
On paper this should be a home run sell- unfortunately Sweden’s Engel seem content to focus on more of the commercial aspects of their post –industrial meets modern melodic death oriented sound. With their third album “Blood Of Saints”, the guitar playing at times attempts to get a tad adventurous on “Down To Nothing”- only to play second fiddle to keyboard swirling effects on “One Good Thing” and reach annoying techno-laden lines on opener “Question Your Place”.
Mangan Klavborn’s penchant for Soilwork-like screams works well on tracks like the forceful “Frontline” and the monstrous stomp worthy title cut – he loses me when the alternative clean vocals take control for the aforementioned “Down To Nothing” or very modern sounding “Feel Afraid” that could be heard across any conventional corporate rock station on my radio dial. Ultimately this motion sickness of genre cross-pollination leads me to turn this off more than play it all the way through.
Does the world really need a European version of an Americanized modern melodic death metal act- featuring predictable hooks in the chorus parts? The marriage between technology as a tool and the medium overriding your musical purpose makes me think this could be a tough sell to the die-hard metal heads. As a result, “Blood Of Saints” could provide Engel with three strikes and their out in terms of wide, long term metal staying power.
11 songs, 39 minutes, and I can’t fault Tue Madsen’s production immediacy impact. Probably has more appeal to the teenagers and twenty-something generation.