Review Summary: Overly catchy and somewhat repetitive, but still a very pleasant listen.
I am one of the few that thought AS DAYLIGHT DIES was better than THE END OF HEARTACHE. I thought it was slightly more diverse, more melodic (less chugging, some acoustic parts) and I also liked Adam D. singing (a lot). This time, Killswitch Engage is coming with a second eponymous album (which is pretty stupid I must admit) that contains really generic name titles. It didn’t make a good impression to me, really not. Anyway, I loved songs like This is absolution, Break The Silence and Arms Of Sorrow so much that I had to listen to this.
The first song, Never Again, starts the album greatly. A really heavy and fast-paced song that doesn’t slow down during one of the best choruses Killswitch have written. There is also a guitar solo, A GUITAR SOLO! It isn’t anything breathtaking, but it is really well-written and fits with the song perfectly. It is one of my favourites of this album, if not the best one.
Still, you’re listening to Killswitch Engage, so the other 10 songs all sounds pretty similar. One good thing is that it is a bit different than AS DAYLIGHT DIES. But, it is not the change of sound that the band talked a lot about. I will try to explain it.
The guitars: More melodic than before. It is even catchier, more 80’s hard-rock influenced and groovier, which is really cool. Some examples to show the difference would be: Most of The Forgotten, the main riff in A Light In A Darkened World, The intro of Take Me Away, etc… It is also very technical at times (This Is Goodbye, Never Again). Really, the guitars are really good in this album, I love them. The only thing that I thought was weird was that there is a solo on the first track, but only in this one. When I listened to the album I was excited that they were doing solos so I was disappointed by the lack of them.
The drumming: Justin Foley has always been one of my favourite drummers. This album just confirms the good things I thought about him. He works with the song, as he always did, but now he exposes is double-bass ability also which is really nice. Drumming highlights would be Starting Over (great drumming throughout but I really like the maiden-esque beat in the second verse), Reckoning (fast drumming with a nice blast-beat thrown in there) and A Light In a Darkened World (really fast foot work).
The bass : Nothing really special but still solid. You can hear it in the mix, and it is pretty much it.
The vocals : I’ve always thought of Howard Jones as one of the best singer in the whole metal-core genre and here he doesn’t disappoint. I really love the tone of his voice. The only songs in which his vocals aren’t excellent are Take me Away ( don’t know why but overall I don’t like it) and A Light In A Darkened World (they sound somewhat computerized, mostly in the chorus). The rest of the songs feature some really emotional singing and furious screams. My only problem is that Adam D. doesn’t sing at all on this CD. He made the overall singing of As Daylight Dies so much better specially in songs like Break The Silence and Reject Yourself. Really disappointing.
The lyrics : Really (and I mean REALLY) generic. Most of the songs deal about love relationship and they aren’t that well written either. Thankfully, it is not the aspect that I care the most about, and they are not SO bad that it brings the rest down.
Song structure : The worst aspect of this group as everyone knows. Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Bridge-Chorus. The verses are screamed for the most part and the choruses are cleanly sung, which on some songs brings the energy level down. For the future they really need to work on this.
In conclusion, this album is pretty solid and I enjoy a lot. It is quite repetitive at times (still less than past efforts) but, you know, it’s Killswitch Engage! It is just a slightly softer version of them that I personally like. I just hope they take some real risks and make real changes in the near future, which I think they have the potential of doing.
P.S.: Please keep in mind that i ama french Canadian so my english is bad in some places.