In 2001, Killswitch Enage is..
Vocals: Jesse David Leach
Guitar: Joel Stroetzl
Bass: Mike D'Antonio
Drums and Percussion: Adam Dutkiewicz
As you know, this lineup has changed dramatically since the original recording of this album (Adam is now lead guitar, Jesse David Leach was replaced by Howard Jones soon after AOJB, and Justin Foley is the new drummer.
First, this is Killswitch Engage in there rawest form, so its not as well produced as future albums. However, this is a good thing IMO, because it truly shows what they originally sounded like. One major diffrence is the fact that Joel is the only guitarist, which takes away some of the signature squeels that are now signature KsE. However, Joel does truly amazing job on some tracks where you could sware 2 guitars are playing.
The vocals, of all the instruments are the rawest. Jesse's scream is the most ranged on this album IMO, going from melodic, to squeels, to growls, this is his best vocal performance.
Although you cannot hear Mike D as much on this album due to production, he still does an amazing job. He really helps out Joel on breakdowns since there is only 1 guitar.
Adam D, well, is Adam D. He's such a talented musician, he can truly go anywhere and excel. As he says on there new DVD "I got sick of hawling my kit around, so I told Mike, "Find a new drummer, im going to guitar." Adam's voice is also a bit changed, it sounds less refined (outro to Temple From The Within), but it still suits the album quite well.
1.Temple From The Within: Well, this certainitly gets the album off to a bang. Extremly good riffing from Joel and intersting echoing vocals in the pre-chorus by Jesse. However, the greatest thing about this song is the lyrics. "You teach me, to inscribe these words, upon my heart." One of my favorite musical quotes, ever. Good bass solo by Mike leads into a good breakdown, with a slower tempo, but heavier vocals. Great stuff all the way around. 4.5/5
2.Vide Infra: If you thought Temple From The Within started quickly, Vide Infra is faster. The verse vocals are rougher and deeper and sound great. Good fast guitar playing from Joel and good pre chorus breakdown by Adam. Good mini solo by Joel before chorus. The chorus is almost screamed/chanted by Adam, Joel, and Jesse. Spoken vocals follow with blastbeats from Adam and a quick interlude by Joel. This songs only downfall, though it is minor, is it gets a bit repititive. However, the ending is a bit suprising, it gets quiter, and cleaner. Jesse's vocals seem to harmonize a bit and fade into the distance as the song falls away.
Great track, once again. 4/5
3.Irreversal: A strange chord intro gets this song going. At first, I was greatly turned off by this, but it gets better. Once again, very tough vocals, and then, what is this? CLEAN GUITAR EARLY IN A SONG!? Well, Joel does a great job leading into the chorus, which has extremely fast drumming by Adam and great vocal range desplayed by Jesse. After another strong verse, the song takes another twist, into a completly acoustic section. While short, and extremly pretty, it quickly fades back into Jesse screaming with acoustic guitar, then changes back into distorted chords and a held out scream to end the song. A truly great song, once again. 4.5/5
4.Rusted Embrace: Sadly, this is KsE's first miss on this album. Jesse's vocals sound forced and not quite as good as they were on the first three songs. Joel's guitar is not as creative and all the elements seems to blend together, and nothing stands out. However, Joel does have a good guitar riff in the pre-chorus. The chorus alternates between screams and clean vocals, and slows down into a extremely heavy breakdown, where the tempo almost stops, but then slowly picks up, and gains momentum, and explodes once again into the chorus. Even though this is not KsE's best effort, its still a pretty d@mn good song! 3/5
5.Prelude: While this is an instrumental, it is one of my favorite KsE songs. It has great drum work once again by Adam, a good guitar riff from Joel, and almost whispered vocals from Jesse saying "Deep inside you". A great way to take a pause from the first four songs and relax (if thats possible). This song also is great for pump up music and is probably why I like it so much. The ending also leads well into Soilborn.
6.Soilborn: This is the first song KsE ever wrote, and its a great one. Jesse's vocals sound great, and Joel's guitar riff is more involved in this song. Jesse and Joel combine very well for a mini breakdown at about 0:30. Then, Joel's riff changes into a higher and echoing riff that flows extremely well with the vocals. Then, Mike D puts on a bass clinic with a good solo, then Jesse explodes into scream, and Adam comes flying in with a great double bass explosion. The chaos continues with a mini solo from Joel and the second verse begins. However, at the end of the song, Jesse begins to try to outdo himself and sound too heavy. However, he redeems himself with good spoken vocals and a great scream to end the song.
7.Numb Sickened Eyes: For some reason, I cannot get into this song. Joel's riff seems lackluster and the song just seems to be missing something. However, a cool guitar riff and clean chorus vocals are definite highlights of this song. Then, Adam D throws in his own clean vocals and the verse returns. Then the chorus returns and leads into an extremly heavy, slow, breakdown to end the song. Then a bit of feedback leads us into the Unblind..
8.In The Unblind: My favorite KsE song, ever. A great guitar riff, which sounds as though two guitars are playing. Great vocals, great guitar, good drumming(COWBELL!), and Mike D holding down the bass. Jesse's vocals switch between clean and heavy, and so does Joel's guitar riff. An almost galloping riff takes over during the pre-chorus, which shows Adam D's talent on the drums. Then, the breakdown occurs. Jesse screaming "FIGHT, THE, SYSTEM, KILL, THE, SYSTEM!", Joel playing an extremely fast guitar riff, and Adam pounding the life out of his drums. A spoken vocal occurs before a repeated breakdown, which ends the song. Truly, a excellent song.
9.One Last Sunset: As your pumped up from In The Unblind, One Last Sunset is a more meloncholy song, which has no vocals and is a fitting end to the album. For the first time, we hear a keyboard, which fits extremely well into the song. The tempo speeds up towards the end of the song, with a extremly haunting effects and guitar riff. The drums just add to the feeling of the song, which truly feels like one last look at life. An almost marching riff slowly takes the song away, and as it fades, so fades too a truly great Metalcore masterpiece.
As the sirens end on One Last Sunset, you wonder what you just listened to. Truly, this desplays Killswitch Engage truly has and shows where they began as a group. Its sad to me that lineup changes and a bit of overproduction have led Killswitch away from this original sound that they possesed. None the less, this is truly a great album and anyone who appricates music should check it out.
*Temple From The Within
*In The Unblind
*One Last Sunset
Overall Rating, an excellent 4/5