Interview: Niclas Engelin of Engel

engel 2014

Niclas Engelin is someone who is no stranger within the Gothenburg metal scene. His latest “other” band is Engel and are about to release their fourth album called Raven Kings via MRI/Sony RED on January 27, 2015.

Engel began in 2005 when Engelin and former The Crown guitarist Marcus Sunesson began writing music leaning more towards a crossover sound mashing melodic metal with industrial elements. Their debut album Absolute Design was released in 2007, and had previously toured Europe supporting Amon Amarth and Dimmu Borgir.

They have shuffled members in recent years, and now the lineup features Mikael Sehlin on vocals, Steve Drennan (Amon Amarth) on bass and Oscar Nilsson (Saint Deamon, Miseration, Despite) on drums.

Engel 2012 with Niklas Engelin (Far Right)

Engel 2012 with Niklas Engelin (Far Right)

While Engelin has a busy schedule touring and playing with In Flames, he found time to write new Engel songs. He shared how he is able to make this happen, despite his hectic touring schedule.

“First of all, I have a lovely wife, and when I’m home…this may sound a little bit boring but I have to do it like this. I work when my wife is at work, and our kids are at kindergarten. Then I’ll sit down and do it, because as I said before I write all the time and I vibe to it. Then at night I’ll play the acoustic. I’ll get my main oomph and I’ll do it tomorrow. I work very strictly like this. Then I have some kind of deadline to work towards.”
He pointed out that he will not be touring with Engel, even though he is a key songwriter in the band. “I will not be touring with the band. I’ve got my hands full with In Flames and family. My wife would be….’divorce!’ That’s the way I work.”

“They tour without me. They’ve done that for a couple of years. They’re really, really good.”

engel raven kings

Will we ever see Engelin tour with Engel, or even an occasional live appearance when In Flames has some down time? He was not so optimistic about it happening.

“No I used to do that back for some time. I found out I did that for some time and the fans were like ‘hey…you weren’t there…fuck you!’ So therefore I’m not in any of the promo pics.”

“You know about Savatage and Jon Oliva? He used to be something like that.”

As for a future Engel tour supporting In Flames, he only commented “that would rule!”

Interview By Rei Nishimoto


Engel – Raven Kings



Not content with plying his trade with one major label band, guitarist Niclas Engelin, who stepped into the Jesper Strömblad sized hole in the In Flames line up on a permanent basis in 2011, teams up with long-standing partner in crime Marcus Sunesson (ex-The Crown) for Raven Kings (Gain/Sony), the fourth installment of his near-eponymous band Engel, and his stamp, and that of his day job, is all over this new release.

Engel are keen to show that the metal does indeed flow in their veins, and the decision to kick the album off with two ragers works from a dynamic point of view, particularly considering the exemplary production job undertaken by Jacob Hansen (Volbeat), although the decision to utilize new vocalist Mikael Sehlin’s harsher tones at the onset of the album instantly draw comparisons with Anders Friden, which for a side project that are not a million miles away from the furrows being ploughed by his other band, is potentially too thin an ice to be stomping army boots on.

Where they do come into their own, though, is as the album progresses and the bands’ keen ear for a hook is accentuated and highlighted, be it riff, groove, vocal melody or chorus that provides it, this is an album full of catchy moments and Soilwork-ed passages, with Sehlin operating much more effectively in the melodic ranges, sounding not too dissimilar to Sebastian Bach’s more Slave-ish moments, and with a power and tone reminiscent of Chris Jericho.

While the band have termed themselves Melodic Death Metal there is no escaping that the core sound of Engel is intrinsically close to that of In Flames, particularly as electronic and “industrial” nuances fleck both the Jester’s and this ancillary outfits’ sound these days, or that the term “Death” in that descriptor is a bit of a red herring. Yes, their hooky song-based modern metal (I’m loathe to add the word core on the end as it almost by default detracts from what they produce) is heavy without resorting to ultra beatdowns to bring the weight, but it is in the melodic and the catchy where they thrive, as, ultimately, Raven Kings is a worthy release of contemporary, commercial metal.



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