It seems that Killswitch Engage has encountered a musical roadblock. You see, it’s one thing when a band makes a copy of a good album, because generally the sound which was copied is still fresh and sounds as original as it did when it was first released. In the case of bands like Opeth, they have achieved international fame with their trademark progressive death metal sound, having refined and polished it to sound fresh and new with each album that comes out. I’m not really comparing Opeth with Killswitch Engage musically, but they seem to share the tendency to recycle their sound over and over and over, while still somehow garnering hundreds of thousands of fans around the world.
However, the difference between Opeth and Killswitch Engage in this regard is the fact that, in Killswitch’s situation, the original sound which they brought over is completely and utterly flat and boring. I know that I should never compare anything, or even mention in the same sentence the names of Opeth and Killswitch Engage, because they are totally different genres and sounds. However, this Massachusetts metalcore band has shown this tendency to bring together some good guitar riffs, smooth transitioning between growled and clean vocals, pounding drums, and the occasional guitar solo or breakdown, and mash them into a giant blur of completely incoherent, boring and, quite frankly, mainstream sound.
There is really no reason why Killswitch Engage should change their sound though, right? They have their name pasted across the minds of high school kids who really want to find something “heavy”. They have released a certified-gold album with 2004’s The End Of Heartache
. They have found a new sound with that album which has pretty much helped shape the American metalcore scene. So what is next for Killswitch Engage? I’ll tell you. Next, they will release a complete trash-heap of a metalcore album which tries to have an even more mainstream sound than ever before, bearing the equally mainstream-appealing name of As Daylight Dies
Despite the stupid an unoriginal album title, the music within is simply nothing more than a half-assed attempt at another The End Of Heartache
. It’s shocking that, after just two albums, Killswitch’s sound and style has become so bland, so boring, so similar
. It might be because of the countless other metalcore bands which have copied Killswitch Engage, but for some reason I take a look at As Daylight Dies
and see an album by some no-name metalcore act who are trying to become the next big high-school fad.
Forget any shred of originality found on The End Of Heartache
. Forget the awesome, epic buildup to the title track, “The End Of Heartache”. Forget the occasional instrumental break which helps transition from one section of the album to the next. Forget anything reminiscent of what made The End Of Heartache
stand out. What is found on As Daylight Dies
is just plain metalcore. No frills, no innovation, no attempt to break away and rise above the sea of other shoddy, terrible metalcore bands flooding America today. As Daylight Dies
gets rid of the emotion and link between a person’s state of mind and the music, making it seem more one-dimensional and forced.
The instruments are played with a fairly average technical standpoint, which shows during most of the tracks. The guitars play what seems to be something close to the same riff during more than half of the songs, often just played at different tempos. This is especially evident during the middle of the album. The riffs in “This Is Absolution”, “Unbroken”, “For You”, “Still Beats Your Name”, “Eye Of The Storm” and “Desperate Times” all suffer from what appears to be a musical writers block, because they are neither catchy nor original, often just bowing out to a riff which amounts to nothing more than an awful sequence of guitar notes played over and over again at a fast tempo before the vocals shift the focus off the guitars so the listener does not become completely disgusted by the lack of songwriting ability.
So drags on the track, with the listener often becoming thoroughly bored and sick of the song before the bridge commences. It’s almost to the point where something out of the ordinary, like an acoustic guitar, cannot save the song from its impending doom. Each song generally follows this pattern of repetitive, terrible songwriting. With the bass lost hopelessly somewhere in the abyss behind the boring and seemingly non-skillful guitar riffing, the songs drag on through the same structure.
If you want to delve into the complicated depths of As Daylight Dies
, allow me to lead you on a tour of the average song which was put on this album. Be forewarned, however, you may be tempted to fall asleep before the tour is over:
Stage I- The First Riff:
As we begin our tour, you are introduced to the track by a seemingly mindless guitar riff which has been copied by at least two other metalcore songs out there, so if you have listened to even a bit of metalcore the riff is pretty generic. However, on a few occasions, such as on “The Arms Of Sorrow”, “My Curse”, or “Break The Silence” the riff may be melodic or acoustic.
Stage II- The Vocals:
After the first riff subsides, the vocals enter. The verses in this album are nearly all screamed at the top of vocalist Howard Jones’ lungs at a high velocity, making the song sound so heavy and “brutal”. So the verses and the riffs go on until we reach…
Stage III- Chorus Time:
Ah yes, when the chorus comes in we see the more melodic side, but not necessarily the better side, of Killswitch Engage. While the clean vocals are well performed they aren’t used to their fullest potential in creating a unique and emotional atmosphere to the album, not just one single track. The only time when the clean vocals create a sense of purpose and value is in the standout track “The Arms Of Sorrow”, when the chorus actually sounds like effort was put into it.
Stage IV- Bridge/Wind-Down:
After a few choruses and a few verses, we have the bridge and, ultimately, the end of the song. After getting relatively nowhere in the song, either in musical terms or lyrical terms, the bridge either brings a breakdown or a guitar solo which ultimately wraps up the song. No breakdowns or solos stand out in particular, which makes the endings of the songs so amazingly forgettable.
While it is hard to describe the sounds of a typical song on As Daylight Dies
, you will know how boring and completely average this album is. But what makes it below average is the terrible songwriting, the bizarre and illogical song placement, the seemingly irrational and run-of-the-mill lyrical content. With so many metalcore acts coming out of the United States today, it takes a hell of a lot more than this to be known as a high-class act among the imitators. Killswitch did show some potential with The End Of Heartache
, but they completely and utterly destroy anything they had going with their latest album As Daylight Dies
. If you are looking for an original and enjoyable take on metalcore, avoid Killswitch Engage's As Daylight Dies
like the plague.
- Arms Of Sorrow
- Break The Silence