Thursday, December 4, 2014

Engel - Raven Kings (2014)

Since In Flames flopped royally with their latest release, I was hoping that the guitarist Niclas Engelin would do a better job with his other band, the industrial metal band Engel. This band has gone step by step up the ladder of success with their heavy, and accessible style. There have been some slight turbulence in the band since they have gone through two member changes since the last album, so I was not fully convinced that "Raven Kings" would keep the progress going.

So how are the new guys stacking up? The new singer, Mikael Sehlin, does have a tougher voice than what Magnus Klavborn have, but he does not add anything new to  the band. He just does most of the work that Klavborn did, which includes both growling and clean vocals, and the band is fine with it. And the new drummer, Oscar Nilsson, does a fine job with the beats. The main factor with the music is still the guitars were Engelin and Sunesson attacks with both melodic and energetic riffs, bringing a lot of dynamics to the music.

However, most of this dynamic impact is lost throughout the album since the band puts out around the same kind of force in almost every song in "Raven Kings". I do like it that the band has this grand, powerful sound, but they are over doing it in this album, creating a blob of an album where the only real stand out is the spiritual "I Am The Answer".

Another strength with Engel is that the band knows how to write a good chorus. And together with some great musicianship, the band can really create some highly memorable tunes. In "Raven Kings", one should check out "Broken Pieces" that impresses with its pain and heaviness. One should also listen to the epic "End of Days" where Sehlin does a great job with his voice. Other notable tracks are the fast paced "Fading Light" and the well constructed "My Dark Path".

"Raven Kings" is definitely a fine metal album where Engel show off their muscles, but we have already seen them, and they are not getting any better with age. Compared to its predecessors, "Raven Kings" could probably be considered as the weakest Engel album up to date thanks to its monotonous sound, but also thanks to the fact that the rest of the Engel catalog holds a high standard. If you are a fan of the band, I am sure you will enjoy the hell out of the album, but will not be surprised at all over what the record offers.

Songs worthy of recognition: End of Days, My Dark Path, Broken Pieces

Rating: 6,5/10 Sanctuaries

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