Engineer - Reproach (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Reproach (2006)


Like a lumbering Grizzly bear awoken from hibernation, Engineer roar with a punishing authority on their newest effort, Reproach, and everybody better be taking a real close listen. After a highly successful split with Rochester's Achilles, Syracuse' own Engineer have finally dropped their long-awaited full-length, and it's seething with a raw, unrelenting fury coming from every pore.

Lead vocalist Bob Gorham reaches to the very depths of his lungs to pull out some of the most powerful low-end screaming you're liable to find. What's more impressive though, is his ability to keep the vocals both fresh and ravaging at the same time; there's no droning, and the inflection is always changing to keep you on your toes. Backup vocals from bassist Brad Gorham and guitarist Ryan Gorham also serve well to keep the flow of the songs, offering a complete three-fronted attack on the senses.

Strong and succinct as the vocals are, there's plenty of other elements here to love.

From the first ominous chord strike, it's quite apparent that anyone listening is in for one hell of a ride. The rhythmic, tribal drumming of Mike Auclair sets the stage perfectly for the all-out blitzkrieg provided by the brothers Gorham. At times quick and cascading, others sludgy and pummeling, each song brings a volatile nature that is often exploited, with only the best results. The fluid, cohesive song structures are spot on each and every time, and the deep, aggressive bass tones resonate with a deep rumble, a perfect platform for the raging guitar work. The textures are so layered it will make anyone's head spin, and the entire pace and direction of each song can start and stop on a dime, opting for something new but just as heavy as before.

In only three minutes' time, "Heel Toe" offers a staggering amount of depth and variation, starting off at a breakneck pace with some quick but extremely powerful drum fills and heavy riffing before leading into a thick bass bridge, until all three vocalists engage in a chant-like scream midway throughout the tracks duration. The epic final track, aptly named "The Long War,'' closes off the record in terrific fashion. Thick, heavily distorted bass-lines and a slow-developing chord progression lead into some barely audible screaming; while the pace quickens, the drum fills tighten until exploding into a ball of rage, but that's only two minutes through the song; there's plenty more musical fury to be experienced.

For 34 minutes, this upstate New York four-piece channels all the rage and fluidity that could be asked for in a heavy record. I had been expecting big things from these guys, and I can happily report they've more than delivered.