Engel is another Swedish band comprised of current and former members of well-known acts. Gardenian bassist Robert Hakemo was an early member of the group. The band formed in 2004 and introduced itself through demos in 2005 and 2006. The group obtained a contract with Germany’s SPV and issued a debut in 2007. Anders Friden of In Flames produced the album with help from Daniel Bergstrand. The label believed, “Engel are set to take the world by storm.” Mikael Håkansson didn’t believe it and left in the middle of 2008. He soon sessioned on the road for Dark Tranquillity. Guitarist Jesper Strömblad of In Flames signed up for rehabilitation in early 2009 in order to get a grip on his alcoholism. In a bout of band cohesion and loyalty the band toured South America and Asia in the spring with Niclas Engelin. Steve Drennan joined in 2008. He was a touring musician for Amon Amarth, a role he would reprise in spring of 2010 while the band’s second album was being released.
Former singer Magnus Klavborn joined the reformed The Duskfall in 2014.
ENGEL - ABSOLUTE DESIGN - SPV
Can you contact me if you are one of the industry types, industry hags or industry wanna-bes who terms bands like Engel “melodic death metal” or “melo-death”? I have a stash of dictator loot hidden somewhere on the border of Liberia and Nigeria which I will give you in exchange for a minimum investment of $1,000.
Are these people stupid or are these people stupid?
To call Engel death metal is a stretch of Metal Hammerian proportions. To ascribe the phrase 'death metal' to Absolute Design is to open oneself to the type of ridicule usually reserved for people who call the attack on Iraq about democracy or the removal of a dictator.
It would not have been too difficult to speculate on Engel’s style prior to the album’s release - aside from how the band has issued a demo or two - given the background of the various members in commercial ventures like Gardenian, Passenger, In Flames and Evergrey. It is what it is, yet some people insist on calling this a style it is not. Absolute Design is not a bad album in its own right. It is not what the band and label advertise it as either. Ashamed of the true nature of Engel perhaps?
Absolute Design is the sound of an aggressive alternative rock band with various forays into hard rock and heavy metal. Screams mingle with clean chants. Catchy simple rock diddlies mix with distorted guitars. An amount of energy competes with soft poppy passages for attention. This is why deliberately soft and commercial tunes like Next Closed Door or Descend find a place on the album alongside obviously more serious songs like Calling Out.
Engel is too enamoured with catchiness, clean chants, emotional rhythms and samples to ever be metal. Engel, and its proposed fans, straddle the line between non-metal and alternative. - Ali “The Metallian”