Required pain

Wow. This stuff is amazing. It's been a long time since I've heard something truly fresh in the whole metal/extreme/screamcore/etc. arena, but Death Engine turns the trick. Okay, the name is not very interesting, but ignore that. The title of the album is more instructive.

Death Engine

Using metal textures, including a startling analog version of the (generally electronic) flat repetitive snare attack of black metal, Death Engine creates some of the most vivid and engrossing sonic waves that I've come across.

There's no doubt this is metal. And in its own way, this is just as meticulously-crafted as the Mars Volta. Except that the vocals are straight screamer, and instead of prog the band has opted for curtains of noise. The arrangements are almost orchestral in nature; "waves" are perhaps the best way to describe the manner in which these songs fall upon the ears. At times, there's a definite Streetcleaner vibe, but Death Engine is more nimble.

It takes a certain kind of listener to piece through everything that Death Engine throws out. And just when the pressure has built to the point of breaking, the boys throw in a pretty interlude like "Zero." Just one more sign that this band knows exactly what it is doing.

I'm happy to be manipulated. My fingers are bloody from holding on while navigating the crests and troughs of this album. I've always treasured the adrenalin rush provided by stuff like this, and I haven't had a better one in years--maybe decades. I still find the name unfortunate (aren't there enough "death" bands already?), but after about twenty seconds of "Medusa," that concern had been rendered irrelevant. The power of this music is undeniable. The only question is how many people can withstand the attack.

Jon Worley

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