I’ve broken the tradition of choosing terrible songs for Trash Monday a couple of times in the past…and I’ll do so again today. I actually love this Dio cover by Killswitch Engage and I am very aware that the cheesiness of the video is on purpose but it makes me laugh every time, especially seeing their guitarist in Drag! Enjoy!
Before I start with today’s review I’d like to warn you that April marks the release of new records by several “mainstream” bands…so be prepared to read about those, since I love writing about records that I’ve been waiting for for quite some time. The first one of those is Killswitch Engage‘s new album Disarm The Descent, so here we go.
Their new album marks the return of their first singer Jesse Leach after a bit more than ten years of absence following the release of the phenomenal Alive Or Just Breathing. Just right off the bat: I won’t go into the eternal “Team Jesse vs Team Howard” debate, since I enjoy both their contributions to KSE. But I will say that this record by far surpasses the band’s last, self-titled, output with Howard Jones.
Musically DTD is very reminiscent of AOJB with a bit of influences from Jesse’s side-project Times Of Grace which clearly shine through. However, it does feel like their heaviest output to date since, except the typically extremely melodic choruses, you barely get a chance to catch your breath between the walls of fast-paced riffs, crushing drum beats and angry, heartfelt screams that come your way almost non-stop.
I have to say that the main gravitas on these twelve tracks, to me, are the vocals and the accompanying lyrics. While trying to keep to what I said in the second paragraph, I won’t expand too much on it but I’m a huge fan of Leach’s vocal performance in general, since his screams are super raw and you just “buy” what he’s singing. The fact that he’s vastly improved since his first output with the band just makes it even better.
To sum things up I’d say that this is definitely an amazing comeback and if you are, like me, an avid listener of the band’s debut album, you will immediately feel at home when you put on this record. Is it their best record? I wouldn’t say so…but it’s totally worth the forty-one minutes of your time and almost guaranteed to entertain for far longer than that. Check out the band’s Facebook page for further info and listen to the song below!
Killswitch Engage: a name that pretty much every metalhead has at least heard before. Their first album Alive Or Just Breathing featured Jesse Leach as a singer and is to this day still a milestone in metalcore, at least in my opinion. After its success however, he decided to leave the band and did a couple of side-projects, one of them was The Empire Shall Fall. Their 2009 release Awaken went completely unnoticed by me and I was quite delighted when I stumbled over them in 2011 when I heard that they’d release a new album called Volume 1: Solar Plexus.
The record, which as the name might suggest is the first part of a trilogy, was released in December solely in a digital format in order to save unnecessary expenses and took me by complete surprise since I had no real clue what I’d get for my money. But since I absolutely loved Leach’s other project Times Of Grace I decided to give it a shot. To put it mildly: I was not disappointed, at all. I should add that the record was released on vinyl a bit later, for those of you that are into that.
The seven song album starts off quite fast and then almost immediately settles into a mid-paced groovy tempo without losing a bit of its heaviness. The rest of the songs always keeps a similar approach which never puts you out of the atmosphere of the whole thing. More non-traditional instruments, at least to the genre, are thrown in as well on the journey. Things like pianos and saxophones just give it a slight jazz feeling which simply fits perfectly.
Every single instrument has a rich sound and hits home non-stop; especially the guitars sound like your finest djent band at some points and make you wish there was more than twenty-five minutes of music. On top of that are the magnificent vocals which alternate between melodic singing and raw screaming.
That is all I’m going to write since I believe you should check it out for yourself, especially since it’s a rather short pleasure. I for one am looking forward to the sequels to Volume 1; even though their release is sat in the stars, since Jesse rejoined Killswitch Engage and might not have time in the near future. I’m sure that the wait will be worth it though. Be sure to check out their Facebook page and listen to the song below.