Review Summary: Highly anticipated – Baby stepping - Predictability.
There’s no denying the fact that since former Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach was announced to be returning to the band’s vocal duties, that there has been a certain hype created long before the release of a new album. The main issue for comparison between records, is the fact the Leach hasn’t performed on a Killswitch Engage record since Alive Or Just Breathing
and whether this new release would echo the early days of the band, or take the Howard Jones route. Weirdly enough, Disarm The Descent
has taken from both eras, allowing the record to be received well enough, but each twist and turn is seen from a mile away with this hugely straight forward approach. Disarm The Descent
, is far from a flop, especially in terms of commercial viability. Killswitch Engage’s 2013 record promotes the straight forward metalcore sound that the band did so well in the early days whilst retaining that melodic edge that the band found during Howard Jones’ time at the helm. For those hoping this might have turned out like another Leach project (The Hymn Of A Broken Man
) chances are this album is going to leave you disappointed, because this is hardly innovating, and remains straight forward Killswitch Engage. That aside, it doesn’t mean the masses won’t enjoy it.
Disarm The Descent
is a stepping stone for Killswitch Engage. Those familiar with the rest of the band’s discography will know that the band is capable of so much more. Whether it be the melodically emotive Jones era (with the likes of ‘End Of Heartache’, ‘My Curse’, ‘Save Me’ or ‘Starting Over’) or the high octane, pour heart and soul into tracks Leach tracks like ‘Numbered Days’, ‘Life To Lifeless’ or ‘In The Unblind’ , Disarm The Descent
comes off flat in comparison like a warm up for something greater. Opening track ‘The Hell In Me’ may lead off in the right way, attempting to blow the listener out of the water but unfortunately the sing a long hooks and screamed verses instantly lose steam. It’s clear from the get go, that Disarm The Descent
isn’t going to be that ground breaking reformation album. That’s not to say it doesn’t have its merits but the record as a whole isn’t quite as substantial as it needs to be. Disarm The Descent
sounds like a band simply going through the motions after a reunion and despite the negative connotations, it’s not actually that a bad thing. Subtle difference do emerge between the two eras, highlighting that this band can pull on both the nostalgic heart strings and appeal to the band’s newer fans. ‘In Due Time’ showcases a bombastic formula, switching between the instrumental works of As Daylight Dies
and echoing Jones’ vocal patterns on The End Of Heartache
whilst still having that typical Alive Or Just Breathing
This Massachusetts five piece haven’t exactly come too far away from their original sound, even managing to regress at points. For one reason or another, their output has always been considered solid and even the band’s less than shiny moments still manage to provide enough enjoy ability to maintain the casual listener. This album is set squarely in that mould. The guitars are as precise as ever and in typical Killswitch Engage fashion have the random, but not out of place squeals and legato leads always reading to launch into a quasi-breakdown inspired riff fest, backed by a slightly guitar hugging bass that thickens the sound but doesn’t really add anything that’s not already there. Foley’s drum work seems to be as solid as ever, but the beats and double kick runs come off as too much of the same thing especially considering that he’s been using the same runs (on and off) for three albums now, they’re repetitive and far from the exciting fresh addition it could be. Even with this in mind, those listening can’t really fault this for being typically Killswitch Engage, even if somewhat recycled on a large scale.
Overall, Disarm The Descent
is a predictable affair, that’s not the excitable return for Leach it should have been. Instead of pumping a new “old” life into Killswitch Engage, Leach is left to carry the album out of mediocre metalcore and with his trademark notable energy he does, but barely. Disarm The Descent
could more or less be considered a show in direction for the group. If the track ‘No End In Sight’ could be taken literally, Killswitch Engage have a fair while to go before they hang up the hook lines and always steady musicianship, no matter the vocalist. Chances are this particular record will achieve a commercial success just as much as the band’s catalogue and affirm that this five piece will achieve a constant level of success no matter who has the vocal reins. If anything has been proved from this release, it’s the fact that having Leach around changes very little, and that Disarm The Descent
is but a stepping stone for something more.