Engineer - The Dregs (Cover Artwork)


The Dregs (2007)

Blackmarket Activities

Don't be surprised if you start looking at 'best of 2007' lists for various magazines, e-zines, and websites and you see The Dregs by Engineer listed. This is one of those releases you may have heard of or planned on checking out later, however, you found out they were on Metal Blade and figured they were another metal band full of Gothenburg harmonies and Cookie Monster vocals and decided to pass. This is not the case with Engineer.

Formed in mid-2003, Engineer consists of three brothers who sound like they're releasing years of sibling angst when they make music together. The Dregs is mid-paced, punishing music that sounds like Unsane with Scott Kelly of Neurosis on vocals. The album starts off with "Scala Natura" and ends with "Kings," and about the only time it lets up is the acoustic outro of "Greenhorn," which sounds just as unsettling as the electric riffs in all the songs. There are no blast beats, no clean singing, and nothing 'happy' herein. "Tremors" picks up the pace a little bit, and then it's into "Hollow Vessel," which is the album's greatest moment: a catchy bass line played under crunching riffs and a guitar line you can almost hum after the song is over. After "Hollow Vessel," the remaining five songs are good but tend to run together, which is my only complaint about The Dregs. Luckily, it clocks in at about 35 minutes which is just enough time to get the point across.

I'm anxious to hear what these guys do next. If they can stretch out their dynamics a little and mix up the tempos of their songs, these guys will be up there with the likes of Coliseum and Unsane.