Killswitch Engage
Disarm the Descent


3.0
good

Review

by Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF
March 26th, 2013 | 606 replies | 61,856 views


Release Date: 04/02/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: "All in due time."

While Killswitch Engage [II] asked the question "Can we start again?" (both in earnest on "Starting Over" and metaphorically in its newer, slower, and less metal presentation), Disarm the Descent answers that question with an unquestionable "No, we're going to pick up where we left off." Maybe a bit surprisingly, that point ends up being Alive or Just Breathing, the last time Jesse Leach appeared with Adam D. and company. This might leave some fans scratching their heads, wondering where some of the finer bells and whistles of The End of Heartache and As Daylight Dies have gone in favor of the more minimalistic and bombastic approach fronted by Leach's more aggressive vocals. Even the melodic ballad that became Alive or Just Breathing's signature song and a huge influence on Killswitch's future releases, "My Last Serenade" has been scorched along this warpath, leaving Disarm the Descent looking even more like a highly refined version of the band's eponymous first outing.

Without a doubt, Disarm the Descent is an album that's going to be a dividing line for many. If Killswitch Engage [II] was criticized for being too soft, Disarm the Descent is a counter to that criticism in every way, shape, and form. The crunch and attack have been dialed up to 11 on the guitars, the bass and drums have returned to the frantic pulse they'd maintained on previous Killswitch offerings ("The Call"), and Jesse shreds his vocal cords in a fierce growl Howard Jones simply couldn't achieve ("All That We Have"). And in counter to the group's most Metallica-esque complaints, most tracks seem to feature blistering melodic guitar solos with plenty of spotlight-ready space to shine. Of course, the greatest improvement over the group's previous outing is the return of Adam's vocal harmonies, layering together with Jesse's singing to dial up the aggression with fierce screams and collective chants, fortifying vocal power with his comparatively mellow, clean voice. The result is a vocal concoction that kicks things up a notch in a way unheard since Alive or Just Breathing.

But maybe things fit together just a bit too perfectly. Nearly everything about Disarm the Descent does nothing new for the genre Killswitch will continue to dominate regardless of their new material. Don't get me wrong - the album is fun. The choruses are as catchy as they are aggressive and the instrumental backing is as tight as ever, kicking out a sound that never ceases screaming "headbang along with me!" Yet, while Disarm the Descent is a return to an (older) form for the band and a fun piece of nostalgia for fans, it does little (if anything) to push the boundaries.

To a point, that's to be expected. This is a group that's digging back into their roots to rediscover their synergy and direction. Not simply because of the return of Leach, but because Killswitch Engage [II] really did show the group at a confusing crossroads. Whether Disarm the Descent is an answer to the question of "where do we go next?" is up to the band to decide, but from this perspective it seems more like a feel-good reunion than anything else. The energy's there, the skill is there, and the songwriting, while nothing innovative, is certainly enjoyable. It's an album that's not unlike visiting a friend's house for a party - you know what's going to happen, nearly to the letter, every time you're there, but you still go and you still have fun.

Disarm the Descent proves that there's still plenty of potential with this group, but it also makes it clear that they're going to take their time putting it out there. And why not? With the commercial success they've had, Killswitch can afford to rest on their laurels a bit and provide us with a hard-hitting nostalgia trip like Disarm the Descent while they ready their A-game for the next round. So bask in the light of the prodigal son returning home and rock along with Killswitch on Disarm the Descent, but don't expect more than glad shouts and bear hugs until the next record.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2013



1981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Between a 3 and a 3.5 on this.

Stream is here: http://smarturl.it/killswitchengagedtd

Digging: Rx Bandits - Gemini, Her Majesty

ChopSuey
March 26th 2013



2392 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

good stuff

Fieryfenderz
March 26th 2013



1424 Comments


I mean this is only Jesse's second or third album depending on how you look at it, so it makes more sense to look at this as a progression from AOJB. And in that sense I really dig what I'm hearing.

Fieryfenderz
March 26th 2013



1424 Comments


Edit:
Double post

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2013



1981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Part of it, yeah, but part of it, you have to step back and say that this is a band that was around for another 8 years between that and had evolved a different style. Yet with Jesse they're picking up right at that landmark.

Which is alright. This is a fun album. I just think they'll have something with more of a forward leaning on their next outing.

CaptainHadouken
March 26th 2013



1960 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Damn , i was writing one for this. Your rating is pretty spot on though, good review.

BassDemon333
March 26th 2013



3350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, and I really like this album. I was hoping this would be good after Jesse's return.

Relinquished
March 26th 2013



24428 Comments


the question everyone should be asking is: is there a song on here that sounds close to Temple From the Within? if not so then I'm not interested.

ViralOblivion
March 26th 2013



7679 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Well temple from the within is one of the best song if not the best song on AOJB but this is a super fun album with some pretty damn catchy moments

BigPleb
March 26th 2013



33987 Comments


Torn between a 3-3.5, good review.

Digging: Opeth - Pale Communion

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2013



1981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I would say "The Hell in Me" does its best to at least open like "Temple from the Within," but nothing on here really follows the same sort of structure, which is at least a little unfortunate.

TrantaLocked
March 26th 2013



1502 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thompson, did you get a pre-release copy of this? I think it is unfair for any of us to be rating
based off of a stream that probably runs at 120KBps. And have people rating really listened to this at
least a couple of times?

BTW, this album is nothing like Alive or Just Breathing. The band left off from where they were in
2009 and simply wrote better riffs for the verses. The choruses got worse though.

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2013



1981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Nope, just the stream (apparently at ~192 KBps). Quality's really pretty good - certainly not bad enough for me to feel like I'd have to have a physical copy or a set of FLAC files to provide a better review.

TrantaLocked
March 26th 2013



1502 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It sounds pretty bad for 192 KBps then. Spotify's music at 160KBps ogg vorbis sounds ten times better
than what altpress is streaming.

I like how you look at this positively as a 3/5 rather than negatively as a 3/5, which is what I am
doing. I really expected this to be an amazing and innovative album, mostly because of how great The
Hymn of a Broken man is.

And to ViralOblivion, Temple From The Within is from the band's first album. The band included it
on AOJB for hell of it.

intotheshit
March 26th 2013



3639 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Lol.... Whether the stream is high quality or not, this is their second worst album, and a boring representation of a band that helped father the second wave of metalcore. It's a band that's struggling to stay relevant, and doing so by rehashing old riffs. Plus, Jesse's harsh vox on this are not even close to what he used to be. He's really struggling.

DarkSideOfLucca
March 26th 2013



3273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

It's fun, but I don't think they'll ever pass Alive or Just Breathing, even if End of the Heartache came close.

I don't really give a fuck about this whole genre though, so

AtomicWaste
Staff Reviewer
March 26th 2013



1981 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Tranta - I guess I tried to look at it more in terms of Killswitch, exclusively. I did love Hymn, but it was just Jesse and Adam, and not the whole band. Plus their last album was really kinda "meh," so I was trying to put it more against that collective effort, which I think is a fairer comparison for the band as a whole. My expectations for the band were also probably lower than yours were based on that.

YankeeDudel
March 26th 2013



9305 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this is a generous 2.5. killswitch is more generic now than all the generic bands that ripped them off

Digging: DJ Spooky - Songs Of A Dead Dreamer

DarkSideOfLucca
March 26th 2013



3273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Oh god this album is actually worse now that I'm listening to AOJB again

intotheshit
March 26th 2013



3639 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

I'm giving it one more listen, and I'm starting to think Jesse is just doing his best Howard impersonation. He sounds so over dramatic on most of the cleans.



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