Engine Down - Engine Down (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Engine Down

Engine Down (2004)


Engine Down's journey has been a long and arduous one. Starting off screamo (real screamo, ala Saetia or I Hate Myself) and morphing into a hypnotic-post hardcore band over the course of a few years, culminating with Demure, the band has never really been given enough credit [outside of former tourmates that praise them to high heaven] - if I see one more clueless rock critic reference them as "ex-Denali," I'm liable to go crazy. This album, their fourth, should change all that - unfortunately it's nowhere near their best work.

ED's sound has taken a slightly dramatic turn towards the uptempo, with cuts like "Cover" and "And Done" being as punky and rock-oriented as the band's ever gotten before. It's a bit shocking at first, but once you realize that this band has never made the same album twice, it sorta makes sense. The problem lies in the number of songs here that try to duplicate Demure's hypnotic pulses - "The Walk In" drones on, never really climaxing.

There's still enough new blood injected into a majority of these songs to keep them interesting, however. Crunchy distortion and slide guitar makes a song like "Rogue" go from good to great. The rhythm section of Jason Wood and Cornbread Compton are amazingly tight and propulsive, which only furthers some of Jonathan Fuller's guitar lines into your subconsciousness. The thing is, too many of them have been done before on Demure.

I hate to constantly keep referencing Demure in comparison to this self-titled effort, but it's really all that can be referenced -- Engine Down is in a musical class of their own, but sadly, they've been held back a grade with this album, which is no more than Demure Pt. II with a faster metronome ticking behind it. It's still a great collection of songs; I just know the band has more potential than this holding-pattern album.

And Done
In Turn
Long Time Waiting