Engine - Superholic

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Metal Blade
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 45:17:00

Engine's self-titled debut album featured well-known musicians Ray Alder (vocalist from Fates Warning), Joey Vera (bass player from Fates Warning & Armored Saint), guitarist Bernie Versailles (ex-Agent Steel), & drummer Pete Parada (Face To Face). The diligent foursome return, delivering an abstract album dissimilar from almost every other "metal" release (if you call it metal - which some don't). The debut self-titled album surprised many people - although I don't think the critics were ready for it - and it favoured a lot of attention from the fans even though it wasn't really associated with any of the members various bands. With the arrival of Superholic, I assume everyone is well versed on all things Engine.

Superholic has managed to up the aggression with lots of down-tuned guitars, a minimum of technicality, but with a powerful punch contained around the meaningful lyrics of Alder who is writing more and more nowadays. Engine create a populist, modern "rock/metal" sound closely associated with the current crop of commercial rock/metal. It's very raw with heaps of distorted guitars and vocals. It's definitely not a style that I'm accustomed too or would listen to regularly, but when their debut came out - I was listening to it constantly and this album already has given me the same feelings.

I'm glad Engine haven't changed their sound at all with Superholic as it would have created a false effect of what the band is trying to create. Once again it's quite experimental - although not necessarily by new additions or through musical technicality - and the album is very personal, too. This aggression is tempered by Ray's melodic ancestry and it's a sorrowful feel that works beautifully. Sometimes the songs are simply crafted while at other times its complex mix of emotions - either way, it's an album that goes from one extreme to the other and it's a tribute to any band that can create that kind of feeling. Again, it's a relatively short album but it works better this way and Superholic is produced by Joey Vera and the cover features a Plymouth GTX.

Like the debut album, it won't necessarily please those fans of progressive metal, thrash metal, or heavy metal but if you keep your ear open then you'll get so much more out of it. It's a high impact, energetic album (just like their live set) and the only (minor) problem I have with it is that there's no lyrics inside (I want to read what Ray is singing about).

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
Losing Ground / Suffocated / I Know / The Perfect Star / Superholic / Fascination / Street / 1 A.M. / Home / Realize / Save Me / Mine

Ray Alder - vocals
Bernie Versailles - guitars
Joey Vera - bass
Pete Parada - drums

Engine (1999)
Superholic (2002)

Genre: Progressive-Power Metal

Origin US

Added: December 18th 2004
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website:
Hits: 1092
Language: english


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