Engel – “Raven Kings” (Gain Music)
Formed by guitarists Niclas Engelin from In Flames and The Crown’s Marcus Sunesson, Engel goes one step beyond those bands in pushing away the barriers to the mainstream by providing the perfect embrace with popular styles like pop, dance and modern rock! Formed in 2007, “Raven Kings” is their 4th album so these guys must be doing something right, which essentially is taking the famed Gothenburg melodic death metal sound and with an incredible sense of balance, fused its chopping rhythms with catchy rock melodies, emotional pop harmonies and stylish electronic beats. That’s not to say that Engel have turned their noses up at metal – far from it – as when they want to sound harsh songs like ‘When The Earth Burns’ certainly bring to mind In Flames, but give a listen to ‘Fading Light’ and you’ll how the new melodies and slick beats almost make metal danceable! There’s definitely some serious dexterity here both from Engelin and Sunesson’s guitar work, effortlessly shifting from stylish modern Scandi rock like on ‘Hollow Soul’ to ambient passages in ‘I Am The Answer’ and then back to catchy melodic death riffing on ‘Denial’. However the real gem has to be Mikael Sehlin’s vocals, singing and then screaming and then sorta blending the two while fitting in with the rest of the music and beats like on ‘My Dark Path’ or ‘End Of Days’ – tremendous! Niclas Engelin’s lovechild may not be to everyone’s liking but it has the potential to be big, and in doing so bridging the gap between the worlds of mainstream and metal – in damn fine style!