Killswitch Engage released Alive Or Just Breathing
in 2002 with Jesse Leach on vocals, and current guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz on drums. In short it was groundbreaking. Bands like Shadows Fall, and God Forbid have said if it wasn't for this album their bands would be completely different. This album was raw, new and full of energy. Since then their lineup has drastically changed. Jesse left the band later that year due to his voice giving out about every three or so shows because his screaming voice was not done properly, he had next to now technique. He had a wife that he was never home to see, mainly from touring so much. Howard Jones was thus brought on board as his replacement, and in some eyes his superior. He had a much more trained scream, he could hit the high notes and also had a strong clean voice. Immediately after this album was released Adam D. went onto to play guitar with Joel and Tom Gomes was taken aboard to fill in his slot. Right before Killswitch went on the Headbanger's Ball tour Gomes left the band. He wasn't into the touring aspect of the music anymore. Former Blood Has Been Shed drummer and Howard's former band-mate Justin Foley was brought aboard to step into his shoes. Now after touring for 2 years straight almost it was time for a new album, and we have The End Of Heartache
A Bid Farwell
opens The End Of Heartache
. It starts off with an erie sounding riff, but as soon as Howard's scream enters the song changes to a pounding rhythm. His screams are very trained and alter from high pitched shrieks to low growls throughout this song and album for that matter. The chorus is very big and gives you your first taste of Howard's clean vocals. They are stupendous, without harmonizing they are still very powerful and strong. The chorus features some harmonized lead playing from Adam and Joel. A great way to start off this album. Take This Oath
begins very differently however, with a stop start type of riff. The verse is also quite satisfying, with Adam and Joel's guitar riffing in full effect. Former singer Jesse Leach also makes and appearance singing the clean vocals during the chorus. Throughout Take This Oath
the drumming is superb. Fill after fill from Justin really shows you what he's capable of. When Darkness Falls
starts off completely differently from past songs. WIth Howard screeching, the drums playing blast beats, and the guitars tremolo picking. The lyrics during the verse are some of my favorite from KsE.
As you walk the path of least resistance
Is it as simple as you claim it to be?
Your tongue, your eyes
Your lies, they do decieve you
Adam also does some backing vocals for the chorus of this song. The first song on The End Of Heartache
to use pinch harmonics as the basis of the riff it sounds, well, awesome. They aren't overused or shoved in everywhere, more to add effect. Mike also has a neat bass fill about three fourths of the way in. One of the few bands where the bass is very audible.
Rose Of Sharyn
immediately thrusts you into a state of headbanging. Instead of waiting for the intro to end like in most songs Howard immediately starts screaming his ass
off. Howard's clean singing during the chorus is a little different then normal. Instead of using his commanding voice he does, almost a tone that sounds either held back or like he's forcing the vocals to much. This song uses harmonization more often than not for the guitars. Practically a part of every riff is harmonized save the chorus. A little past halfway we hear a clean interlude to the breakdown. Inhale
is the one half of the instrumental pieces on The End Of Heartache
. It's a bit of a departure from the rest of the album, it's played at a very slow tempo, and mostly on an acoustic. Only guitars on this track, not even some drums to help with the rhythm. This song is basically an interlude. Breathe Life
comes crashing out of Inhale
with a pick scrape and blast beats. The guitars remind me of Take This Oath
. The chorus however, is one of the most epic to come from KsE. The clean singing is amazing. No harmonizing needed here folks, just one track. As if this track couldn't get any better, we here a solo! The one and only on here, while not shredding or long it's still memorable. It sounds as if Adam is using a wah-wah pedal, but he's just playing around with some harmonics. Overall a solid track, which segues right into The End Of Heartache
. The title track and second single from this album, it's nothing short of spectacular. Opening with Adam playing an arpeggio it sounds and reminds of something distant. For one of the few times Howard double tracks his vocals during the chorus. Not harmonized, but two different vocal tracks saying two different things. There is a slight lead, it can be interpreted as a solo by some, it's really short that mainly why I don't consider it a solo.
kicks off with a palm muted riff and an unorthodox rhythm from both Justin and Joel. The singing during verse is much like that of the chorus of Rose Of Sharyn
, strained or forced, take your pick. The chorus is definitely the highlight of this song. It's so fucking
catchy it's really unbelievable.
Only through dedication will I destroy all preconception
Toward the end of this song Howard sings something that sounds like he is yelling into a dungeon twenty feet away from the mic creating a cool effect. Sadly this song clocks in at only 3:01, with some more riffs this song could be much better. World Ablaze
starts off with Joel setting a rhythm and Adam playing a tremolo picked riff in the background. This song is almost a filler track, if it weren't for the chorus I would skip this track all together. It's very strong like the other choruses, and it reminds of Breathe Life's
somewhat. This song seems to drag on towards the end, and if probably the weakest on this album. The outro bridges directly into the second instrumental on The End Of Heartache
, And Embers Rise
. It's like Inhale
, in the sense that it's instrumental and played through a clean channel with just guitars, but it's basically the same riff played over and over. It doesn't vary at all. Now back into the good stuff, Wasted Sacrifice
begins with Howard talking and towards the end of the intro screaming. The riff right after is cool. Consisting of hammer ons and pull offs it's one of the finest in the KsE arsenal. Like World Ablaze
this sounds much like filler, with again the exception of the chorus which is as big and bright as always. The first chorus and the fill right after contain some of the most beautiful lyrics KsE has written.
There is no forever, just today
Don't let your sacrifice waste away
Through change and purity, turn the shadows to light
Buried beneath the ashes is a passion for life
Like I said before this song is more filler than anything. Hope Is...
opens with some great drum fills from Justin. The main riff is also top notch, it makes you want to bang your head. Howard shrieks the verse, and really shows just how strong his voice is. The chorus is a bit different from the rest of them, the entire band does a vocal part, it reminds me very much of Avenged Sevenfold's Strength of the World, just with the vocal parts reversed. Halfway through we hear a clean section, while brief it's still effective. I rather like the positive lyrics, the main theme of this song is, in the words of Howard, hope is not lost. And with Howard doing some of the lowest growls imaginable the albums comes to a crushing close.
- Howard's vocals are great. His harsh and clean vocals are powerful.
-Positive lyrics, I like the messages of the songs on this album, notably Declaration and Hope Is...
-The instruments are all superb. The drumming is tight, and Justin's fills are awesome. Joel and Adam definitely know their way around the fretboard, and Mike is actually audible for most the album, a rarity in modern music.
-The constant scream verse sing chorus might get annoying and be to predictable for some people
-Jesse Leach isn't the singer anymore.
-Some may say over produced, I don't think so but I've heard a lot of people say different.
Killswitch Engage on The End Of Heartache is..
Justin Foley - Drums
Adam Dutkiewicz - Guitar
Howard Jones - Vocals
Joel Stroetzel - Guitar
Mike D'Antonio - Bass