Killswitch Engage
Alive or Just Breathing


3.5
great

Review

by Paul Moniuszko USER (7 Reviews)
November 20th, 2005 | 723 replies | 53,624 views


Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist


8 of 10 thought this review was well written

Disclaimer: This my first attempt at a paragraph review, so criticism is welcomed and wanted.

Killswitch Engage is a Metalcore act out of Massachusetts, who formed in 1999. At the time of the release of Alive Or Just Breathing, they were relatively unknown around the world of music, except for local fans. However, Roadrunner Records caught a hold of their first self-titled album and saw something they liked, so they signed Killswitch Engage.

Musically, Killswitch Engage is very sound. The vocals from Jesse David Leech are top notch for Metalcore and have surprising range, on such tracks as "The Element of One" and "My Last Serenade". The guitar work is very consistent throughout Alive Or Just Breathing. Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel both are very talented musicians, and show great diversity in their playing. They can shred (Vide Infra, To The Sons of Man), play at standard tempo, (Numbered Days, Self Revolution, Temple From The Within), or truly play at almost a standstill, yet still remain very heavy (Rise Inside, Just Barely Breathing). If there is a constant on Alive Or Just Breathing, it is the guitar work. Mike D'Antonio, the founding member of Killswitch Engage is the glue of the album. Although not always heard, he does have some standout parts, such as the bass solo on Temple From The Within, which starts one of the best breakdowns on the album. His contributions are not always involving his instrument, he also designed the artwork for Alive Or Just Breathing. Drummer Tom Gomes turns in a solid showing. Of all the band members, he may be the least noticed, but in no way is that saying he's mediocre. With some great fills and breakdowns (To The Sons Of Man), he contributes to the overall feel of the band, but just doesn't possess the flare that the other members possess.

Now, the album does get off to a bang with "Numbered Days", and "Self Revolution" keeps the momentum going. However, some songs like "Fixation On The Darkness" and "Life To Lifeless" show some on Jesse's vocal problems. Now, all of Alive Or Just Breathing isn't electric. Killswitch Engage does turn in some acoustic sections and more melodic numbers such as "The Element Of One", "Without A Name", and "My Last Serenade". However, the band tries too hard on "To The Sons of Man" and the rehashing of two songs from their self-titled album, "Temple From The Within" and "Vide Infra". However, the album ending does not disappoint. "Without A Name", a beautiful intro fades well into "Rise Inside", an emotional and brutal album closer. "Rise Inside" features everything this album could have been. Brutality, Musicianship, thought provoking lyrics, and changes in tempo. While being a bit repetitive, this truly shows the potential of this lineup of Killswitch Engage.

Note :( Jesse David Leech left the band shortly after the recording of Alive Or Just Breathing due to marital and vocal problems and also suffering from depression. Also, Tom Gomes left the band in 2003 for less known reasons, none being as well known as Jesse's.)

Pros
*Guitar work is excellent throughout the album
*Jesse's voice CAN be truly spectacular
*Well written Lyrics
*"Temple From The Within" bass solo and chorus

Cons
*Jesse's vocal problems
*To The Sons of Man

Strange
*It's truly too bad that Killswitch Engage did not wait for Jesse to get out his funk and settle his personal issues, because IMO, the band has never been the same since.


Recommended Downloads
*Numbered Days
*My Last Serenade
*Temple From The Within
*Rise Inside

-rusty



Recent reviews by this author
A Day to Remember And Their Name Was TreasonKillswitch Engage Killswitch Engage
AFI Sing the SorrowSystem of a Down Toxicity
Lostprophets Start SomethingKillswitch Engage The End of Heartache
user ratings (1737)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of

Comments:Add a Comment 
Thor
November 20th 2005



10176 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Very detailed review. I've never heard this album, but I have heard The End of Heartache. After listening to that, I don't really want to hear much more from this band. They're pretty generic, if you ask me.

rustysurf84
November 20th 2005



327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I'd really recommend AOJB though, it truly is a different band at that point in time. At least download Numbered Days.

Shadows
Moderator
November 20th 2005



2530 Comments


Very nice. I've heard many odd tracks from these guys and I don't care too much for them, but I prefer The End if Heartache stuff to this old stuff. I think Howard Jones is a much better vocalist then Jesse Leach.

Toaster
November 20th 2005



343 Comments


What I've heard of this album is far better than The End Of Heartache.

Did you forget to rate the last two songs?

Storm In A Teacup
November 20th 2005



12687 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Howard is a lot better than Jesse I've always thought. He does the old stuff better than Jesse ever did as well live.

Toaster
November 20th 2005



343 Comments


I agree, Howard kills Jesse, but the music on this album (again, I've only heard 4 or so songs) is better than the next. Plus, I saw a video with Howard and he couldn't hit any of the high notes.

Storm In A Teacup
November 20th 2005



12687 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, Jesse really can do that, though I didn't like that about him I don't think.

Shadows
Moderator
November 20th 2005



2530 Comments


Jesse is amusing, especially when he tried to do a King Diamond impression on Roadrunner United.

Storm In A Teacup
November 20th 2005



12687 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah, that was pretty funny. He did an ugh job on that.

Damrod
Moderator
November 21st 2005



1093 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

'Alive or just breathing...?' owns 'The end of heartache' for sure IMO. This was one of the first Metalcore albums I really got into, and I still like it.

Nice review :thumb:

(>dragon~guitarist<)
November 21st 2005



243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The best Killswitch album imo, My Last Serenade is an ace song.

south_of_heaven 11
March 18th 2006



5433 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

tis a good cd here...listening to it all at once is kinda hard, but my last serenade is a nice track i might add

rustysurf84
July 27th 2006



327 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Review overhaul! Completely different from what was before.

LifeInABox
November 28th 2006



3708 Comments


Fixation on the Darkness and Numbered Days Blow me away everytime

CrossTheBreeze
February 17th 2007



45 Comments


Life to lifeless has convinced me to buy this album the next time I get some cash.

Overall
April 16th 2007



3 Comments


REMEMBER........

There are two versions of songs the howard and Jesse.

For ALIVE OR JUST BREATHING it's tailored for Jesse.

This album is more than impressive it is a birth of one of the few bands who are giving modern metal STEROIDS. personally all the songs are great you just have to look past the flaws. Jesse did a great job. Alot of the songs are spiritual and awaken you. 10 out of 10.

LifeInABox
April 19th 2007



3708 Comments


yesyesyesyesyesyes

Confessed2005
June 14th 2007



3314 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is amazing.

Every track is excellent. Jesse is so much more emotional than Howard as well, IMO.

LifeInABox
June 14th 2007



3708 Comments


He's a modest guy, what can he say?

TheSunSleeps348
July 7th 2007



156 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I miss Jesse..



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2013 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy