|The image is one of an open space as big as the the choruses Engel conjure up.
Here to chart a new course for heavy music in 2007 are five Swedes from Gothenburg from whom music provides the ultimate rush. They understand the delicate balance between skill and brutality, of drawing the heaviest dynamic out of the sweetest melody and of marrying classic metal influences with new-school characteristics.
Who are Engel, you might ask? You'll know Niclas Engelin from his time as guitarist with Passenger alongside Anders Fridén of In Flames. Marcus Sunesson spent time with The Crown whilst also moonlighting with The Haunted (2001-02). Joining these two six string shredders are vocalist Mangan Klavborn, bassist Michael Håkansson and drummer Mojjo.
Together with In Flames' Anders Fridén, these five musicians have been busily crafting away in Gothenburg's IF Studios, whilst Tue Madsen (Mnemic, The Haunted) has handled mixing duties.
Engel have already supported Arch Enemy and Trivium, and are now setting their sights on you. This is it - this is now!
For guitarist and composer Niclas Engelin, faith in his own skills is an indispensable factor in the success of his current band. "You have to believe in what you do," he sums up his philosophy, adding: "There's no room in this group for people who hesitate." Engelin doesn't issue this statement in the manner of a dictator who demands unconditional obedience, he's talking about motivation and inherent self-confidence, about visions and worthwhile perspectives, which he considers the basis of his new metal act, Engel. Consequently Engelin carefully went about the foundation of his band when it came to choosing its members two years ago. "I didn't want everything to gel only in musical, but also in mental terms," he says, looking back at years of experience in other acts. The musician from Sweden has played in groups such as Gardenian, In Flames and Passenger, all of them musical heavyweights with their own trademarks and success stories. Engel, however, is marked by his own, unmistakable musical signature. "I was looking for a medium to convey my guitar sound, my style of playing, songs that connect black metal with catchy melodies." Is it too early yet to give a specific name to this exciting, unique sound? Experts have already coined terms such as 'melo death metal' and 'black metal meets Rob Zombie'. As far as Engelin is concerned, his debut album, Absolute Design, consists of "simply good music. It's definitely about metal, but the diversity of the tracks allows no detailed generic term." Expertly, he and his band-mates have succeeded in expertly balancing hard-as-nails riffs, melodic passages, dynamic references to classic metal, and new influences.
Engelin composed between 40 and 50 songs in the run-up to Absolute Design, recorded demo versions at his own studio and put together a new band, consisting of vocalist Mangan Klavborn, guitarist Marcus Sunesson (ex-The Crown) and drummer Mojjo (a.k.a. Daniel Moilanen, ex-Lord Belial). Initially, Engel worked with a temporary bassist, before Engelin found an ideal reinforcement in Michael Håkansson (formerly Evergrey). "The first time I heard Michael play he almost blew me away. His style is unbelievably dynamic." A trait which practically predestines Håkansson for this band, who have caused a stir among the media even before the release of their debut album. Metal Hammer UK voted Engel Best Unsigned Band in 2006, and the German magazine, Rock Hard, announced them winners of its demo contest in the same year.
Absolute Design was recorded and mixed by Anders Fridén, vocalist of Swedish metal institution, In Flames. Fridén was supported by Daniel Bergstrand, who has also worked for acts such as In Flames and Meshuggah. In other words, an illustrious team who went about their business with great skill and enthusiasm. "The atmosphere at the studio was incredibly motivated," Engelin recalls. "We worked really hard on creating the best sound possible. All the preparations, such as the demo recordings at home in my studio, the rehearsals with the whole band, and the sessions at the recording studio have paid off. It was like a painting that comes together in several steps and is repeatedly subject to changes and new ideas during this process."
Absolute Design sees Engelin reach his first target with his new group, but looking at these ambitious musicians it seems obvious that there's much more to come. "We want to achieve great things with Engel," says Engelin. "And we will work as hard as we can to achieve this goal. After all we've already succeeded in getting a contract with the best record company in the world. Steamhammer/SPV are the ideal solution for our musical direction. Now we have to stay focussed on our vision and do everything we can to put it into practice. That's only possible if you're supported by a strong team."
A team, coincidentally, which has already become a tight unit during numerous concerts. Engel have played in Scandinavia, the UK and Germany, performing with renowned colleagues such as Arch Enemy, Mnemic and Skindread, leaving a more than passable impression. "Something special seems to happen whenever we play live," Engelin explains the phenomenon. "The songs sound rawer and heavier than they do in the studio, and they're different to the album version, which makes Engel gigs new and exciting for the audience every time."
It's a fact for connoisseurs of the scene that the fans will love Absolute Design and the twelve tracks it comprises, particularly since Niclas Engelin has been given the opportunity to put his ideas 100% into practice. "I've found my place as a songwriter, which gives this band its very own style and unique identity. But I want to do more: Although Absolute Design won't be out before November 2007, I've already written ten new songs for our next release." No doubt about it: This band and its mastermind Niclas Engelin are ablaze! And the flames are kindled by their debut album, Absolute Design.
ENGEL conjures large spaces with dynamic choruses and a thick, stable ground.
This is the ultimate rush and determination for every individual/member of the band. The hard, rhythmical and exceptional guitar work and subtle atmospherics draw your mind's eye to a field of authority. The powerful drums cut up that authority with a delicate grace, heaviness and punch. And the rich, intense vocals achieve lift-off on each chorus of every song. ENGEL understands the delicate balance between skill and brutality, such as combining melodies and dynamic, classic metal influences and new-school characteristics. This unit is an artistically crafted symmetry. ENGEL will reroute the path that hard music takes in 2005 and lead the revolution going forward.
This new Swedish/Gothenburg-based quintet featuring the guitarists Niclas Engelin and Marcus Sunesson with drummer Mojjo, bassist Rob Hakemo and vocalist Mangan Klavborn are now ready to explore new ground and accomplishments. It has been a long, hard road for every individual in ENGEL and this new factor is ready to prove its conviction for once and for all.
By recruiting acclaimed Danish producer/engineer Tue Madsen (Mnemic, The Haunted etc) to mix the self-produced/recorded demo (recorded in their rehearsal room), helped the band garner what they want to achieve with ENGEL. ENGEL is a collaboration between five experienced musicians with a common hunger and goal. This unit is treated as a number one priority for everyone involved and they are ready to deliver what ever it takes. They strive to forge a sound that would not only stand the test of time but also push their talents to the very max.