Most of you will probably know Ray Alder as the vocalist of prog metal outfit Fates Warning. Fates must have taken some time off to make space for various solo efforts such as Jim Matheos' "Away with Words" (reviewed elsewhere) and, indeed, Ray Alder's side project Engine.

For those of you who are used to Fates Warning, the music of Engine may come as a bit of a shock. It's more straightforward, more rocking, it seems like instead of a lot of thought a lot of spontaneity went in. Recently reunited Armored Saint member Joey Vera takes care of the honours on bass, and was in charge of production as well. He's done an admirable job, creating a CD that is full of life, with a certain roughness, without making it sound like grunge.

"Engine", for such is the name of the debut, is an energetic album, a fine album. If you go and check it out, give "Taste" and "I Don't Need" a good listen and see if you like it.



Written August 1999


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