Monday, May 6, 2013

Killswitch Engage, Disarm the Descent

Killswitch Engage

Disarm the Descent

Reviewed by Antonio Staropoli

Formed in 1999, this Massachusetts-based band has just released their sixth studio album entitled Disarm the Descent. And if you've been following Killswitch Engage since their inception, you know this album welcomes back the original vocalist, Jesse Leach, since his departure in 2002. Before I continue, let me just say this: when listening to this album, you should spare yourself the comparative analysis between Howard Jones and Jesse Leach. Why, you ask? Because it's pointless and slightly insulting to both vocalists. They are both great vocalists in their own respects. Get over it and make a judgment based strictly on the music.

With that being said, let's finally talk about the album. It begins with Jesse growling along to thrashy riffs and blast beats, on the track “The Hell In Me.” It's apparent from the start that this is an album to be reckoned with. This intensity is balanced out by an equally melodic chorus that has lyrical intent: “Protect me / From the hell that burns inside me / No one can see / This is the hell in me / Will you set me free / This is the hell in me.”

The first single released from Disarm The Descent, “In Due Time,” is full of syncopated drumming and melodic guitar harmonies throughout. A perfectly placed bridge complete with operatic and guttural vocals is followed by a blistering fast guitar solo that brings the song together. Lyrically, the chorus is infectious and positive, “All in due time / See the world through different eyes / All in due time / Shadows will give way to light.” In fact, the entire album is laced with positive messages lyrically, which are very reminiscent of Hatebreed-type vocals.

“The New Awakening” is the second single off this album and probably my personal favorite track. It's very uplifting both musically and vocally. During the bridge, a hardcore breakdown style chant is recited, “I will not live in fear / Live life with no regrets / I will not live in fear / I will not live in fear.” The song is a perfect blend between hardcore chugging riffs, Swedish metal melodies, and thrash.

Other tracks, such as “You Don't Bleed For Me,” will make your head bob and your body sway. “Always” is a bit of a departure from the fast-paced heaviness throughout the album, but is still very melodic and ballad-like, serving as a good way to break up any perceived monotony.

Overall, this is one of those records that you really can listen to from start to finish without skipping any tracks. Quite frankly, it's a densely packed, well-written and admirable piece in the Killswitch Engage discography. It is currently getting the most play out of any playlist or album on my Spotify, and I recommend it to KsE fans and anyone with an appreciation for artistic metal. Welcome back, Jesse Leach!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5