Spoil Engine - Stormsleeper album review

Gutsy Euro metal from melodic, Lowland collective

Cover art for Spoil Engine - Stormsleeper album

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With half these songs appearing on a self-released namesake in 2016, it’s good to hear them being given a full-blooded production with all the bells and missiles on Spoil Engine’s fourth album. With new female vocalist Iris Goessens’ roar, comparisons with Angela Gossow-era Arch Enemy are inevitable, not least when backed up by the imperious riffs, flailing leads and bullish posturing of Disconnect, while the synth-led battle cry of Black Sails could easily be an Anthems Of Rebellion b-side. However, the Belgian/Dutch band are far from one-trick ponies. Silence Will Fail’s angular chorus sets up an explosion of windswept peaks, and SE are onto a winner with Doomed To Die and Singing Sirens’ brooding melancholy, as Iris’s vocal cords are given a full workout. The title track’s power metal stomp and squealing guitars deliver a solid mid-album anchor, but either side of it Weightless and Hollow Crown join modern metal’s plundering of Meshuggah’s guitar tone without much payoff. Disjointed but demanding of attention.

Rugby, Sean Bean and power ballad superfan Adam has been writing for Hammer since 2007, and has a bad habit of constructing sentences longer than most Dream Theater songs. Can usually be found cowering at the back of gigs in Bristol and Cardiff. Bruce Dickinson once called him a 'sad bastard'.