Absolute Design


Bland, boring, vanilla, unoriginal, uninspiring, unenthused, lacking of energy – all descriptors of Engel’s Absolute Design. Coming from one of my favorite metal cities in the world, Gothenburg (on top of the impressive list of musicians and their former bands – I’ll dig into this more shortly), I expected more – at least a little bit. I was actually excited when I read the promo piece on the back of the cardboard sleeve, as I was unaware of this project prior. Formed by guitarist Niclas Engelin (Gardenian, In Flames, Passenger) in 2005, he recruited the likes of guitarist Marcus Sunesson formerly of The Crown (fuck – can the former members of that band find anymore shitty projects to take part in? It’s depressing), drummer Mojjo of Lord Belial/Runemagick, bassist Michael Hakansson of Evergrey fame and new (nu) vocalist Mangan Klavborn. That’s pretty impressive, if you ask me, but the end results are lackluster, and at times downright terrible.

Slight comparisons could be made by way of latter period In Flames and Soilwork, but I actually like some of In Flames later stuff, and I like everything Soilwork has ever done – I don’t like this however – at all. Truth be told, it sounds as if their biggest inspiration comes from nu-metal and modern radio rock. Boring, uninspired riffs over boring, uninspired and lazy sounding drum patterns with a typical radio friendly voice alternating with “some guy that sounds really pissed”. Let’s see here, how does it go? Oh yeah, you’ve got subdued, restrained verses and “muscular” choruses. Boring. Not every song follows this formula, but enough of them do to make me want to eject the disc and chuck it across the room in disgust. The one track where they actually try to get heavy, “Propaganda”, just comes off as generic and forced sounding – like they felt they had to have an obligatory heavy song because of their backgrounds. I could actually hear just about 90% of this stuff on my local “rock” radio station, and that’s saying a lot, as they don’t play anything worthwhile.

The one bright spot that I found on the album is parts of “Calling Out”. The track is generally fast, almost thrash like, and has some great lead work at the beginning and then again later on, but then of course they sabotage it by slowing down and bringing in the nu-metal riffs when the vocals kick in. Other than that, it has a pretty decent production, but I have nothing else good to say about it.

Bottom line: Absolute Design just sucks, that is unless you get your kicks from modern radio rock and nu-metal.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
June 30th, 2008


  1. Commented by: Dan

    Marcus Sunesson was fantastic in The Crown, and they still rank in my top 10 favorite bands. It’s hard to watch him chugga-chugga his career away on this stuff.

  2. Commented by: gabaghoul

    so you’re saying you didn’t like it, right?

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