Review Summary: "Holy freaking crap! It's so hot in here I had to take off my cape!"8 of 8 thought this review was well written
When The End of Heartache
was released in 2004, the majority of Killswitch Engage's fanbase let out a collective sigh of relief; the Massachusetts based band's third effort was not only the follow-up to the highly regarded Alive or Just Breathing
, but was also the first album post-Jesse Leach, Killswtich's original vocalist who in the relatively short span of two albums had rightfully earned the undying reverence of the metalcore community. Thought to be essential, Killswitch Engage's near indomitable task of replacing Leach could have by all means ended in complete disaster, and probably would have if anyone else but Blood Has Been Shed front man Howard Jones hadn't been chosen to take the mic; with Jones' immense skills significantly raising the bar for his bandmates, The End of Heartache
flourished, becoming the band's most musically ambitious effort as well as their most successful to date. Taking their show on the road, Killswitch's following tour led to the recording of Set This: World Ablaze
, a live DVD that shows the band firing off all the cylinders to a sold-out hometown crowd of nothing but the most rabid, dedicated, and lucky of fans.
Enclosed within the walls of The Palladium in Worchester, when the band rips into opening song "A Bid Farewell" the crowd goes absolutely ballistic and rightfully so; Killswitch Engage attacks the track with nothing but the utmost enthusiasm. Jones' letting loose a larynx shredding scream, the crowd erupts into a violent fervor, moshing in sync with the guitars open note chug and halftime drumbeats. Dressed in nothing but a cape, black wife-beater and his Daisy Duke cut-off shorts, Adam Dutkiewicz's show-stealing stage presence may see him running around like a madman but that certainly doesn't hinder him from playing his instrument perfectly; never missing a chug, squeal, or lead Dutkiewicz almost acts as a second front man, backing Jones with his also excellent vocal skills. Joining him, Joel Stroetzel may be more content remaining a single place then Dutkiewicz but like his fellow guitarist his playing is utterly spotless, delivering classic Killswitch Engage moments perhaps even better than on record.
With a setlist that largely comprises of Leach-era material, Jones' performance only reaffirms why he was chosen as a replacement in the first place; marking the older tracks as if they were his own, the vocalist using his superior set of pipes (you may enjoy Jesse Leach more, but Jones' technical skill is undeniably better) surpasses the intensity and passion of the original versions, Jones' stamping them with his own personal flair. Classic Killswitch Engage song "The Element of One" in particular definitely benefits from the new blood; as the song cuts into its wonderfully melodic chorus, Jones' skill goes from sensational to spine-tingling; his range, tone and basically everything creating a transcendental atmosphere that can only be achieved through the live arena. Other tracks like "Life to Lifeless", and "Self Revolution" also receive thunderous receptions, as Adam D. and Joel playfully improvise and deviate from their original guitar lines while new drummer Justin Foley faithfully and skillfully adheres to the patterns of the past.
While the group's older material is definitely played with the utmost care, when it comes to new songs from The End of Heartache
, Killswitch really starts to set the stage ablaze, headbanging in unison, running around the stage, and all around creating a spectacle for the fans that wouldn't soon be forgotten. In heavier tracks like the perfectly replicated "When Darkness Falls" or "Rose of Sharyn", Killswitch's ravenous fans become an ocean of flailing limbs, reacting to every harmonization, every fill, every vocal line, showing a constant stream of admiration for a band. A lot of the time this is prompted by Jones' who consistently asks for the crowd's participation, a request they never fail to deny. Title track and hit single "The End of Heartache" features a passionate call and response from the fans, their energy no doubt fueling the band to play to song in a fashion that definitely has more heart than the original, Jones' ending vocal line one again shiver inducing.
Aside from headbanging endlessly to the great live reproductions, the (Set This)World Ablaze
DVD holds your basic special features (a documentary, behind the scenes footage etc...), that in addition to their usual entertainment value contains some absolutely hilarious moments, no doubt thanks to the band's (particularly Adam D. of course) ultra-humorous, laid back attitudes. In the end, how could you not enjoy this release? A live show that does well to translate the band's deep bond with their fans (through a live performance that will knock you on your ass) and bonus features that depict the band's uncannily funny but down to earth lifestyle, the (Set This)World Ablaze
DVD is an essential purchase for any Killswitch Engage fan.