Hot off the heels of their split with labelmates Achilles, Engineer serves up Reproach. This album was born from the varying manners of hardship and adversity that forced the band to hole up and dig in. The resulting months of being locked up together was spent hammering this record into submission through countless hours of writing, honing, practicing... All the frustration and angst of recording was infused into the album.
Reproach starts off sounding like a machine. The music is precise, loud, and caustic. The vocals are extremely harsh sounding, and the vocalist definitely has a bellowing quality to his voice. Listening to the album, you get the feel and idea that this is an album where much of it was written in a condensed, specific period of time. The emotional timbre of the songs is very similar throughout the entire album. This record is very focused; the instruments sound full and powerful.
There are several songs that stand out on this release. "The Long War" with its "calm before the storm" quality is one example. It is actually one of the spots during the duration of the album that you can take a breather. Much of the album has a bludgeon the listener to death aesthetic, which makes it ironic that this is the last song on the record. "In the Grit" has a great, angular and noisy feel to the song. Some parts of it could be likened to what Breather Resist does, but Engineer do it in a way that makes it uniquely their own. The best song on the album is the first one, "Nomad." This one has some great guitar parts that really set the song apart and the vocal choir in the song is used to an excellent effect. Overall this is a good record; it can be a little slow at times, but that might be the point.
As a small aside, Chris Owens of Lords produced this album; his production is really good and developing quite a demand, especially from Hex bands as Achilles also recorded with him.
Engineer has created a pretty good record. Reproach is a nice first album that shows a great deal of potential. It will be interesting to hear where the band is going next.
6.7 / 10
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