Killswitch Engage
Killswitch Engage II


3.0
good

Review

by Nosferatwo USER (43 Reviews)
June 22nd, 2009 | 148 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Killswitch puts on the brakes and stops their descent into self-parody.

Killswitch Engage are a polarizing force in modern metal. On one hand, they were instrumental in the rise of the new wave of American heavy metal, the forefathers of the entirety of modern mainstream metal. On the other hand, they are also one of the foundations of metalcore, the oft-hated subgenre of repetitive screaming and breakdowns, with little talent for songwriting. Where the truth about Killswitch rests is somewhere in the middle. They are not trendsetters anymore, nor do they fit the label of metalcore that has spawned a thousand faceless bands. What Killswitch Engage is, now, is a band trying to figure out what their role is supposed to be.

The days of Killswitch being the innovators of the metal world are gone. Their first two albums were revolutionary, bringing the screaming/singing formula to the mainstream and defining the sound of a genre. When they delivered The End Of Heartache, introducing new singer Howard Jones, the band laid the cornerstone for all that is modern mainstream metal. The album was heavier than anything getting airplay, was technical in the right ways, and featured an outstanding vocal performance from the best singer/screamer in the genre. The album, by virtue of it's sheer weight, the epic scope of the melody, and the tight songwriting of the band, became the Bible by which all that followed was judged.

The band themselves found the album impossible to follow, releasing the uninspired As Daylight Dies, repeating the formula with little of the inspiration. Killswitch still sounded like themselves, but had the energy of a cover band, none of the songs coming across with the same air of aggression. Now, Killswitch is back to take their second stab at recapturing the magic. Their second self-titled record is an improvement over As Daylight Dies, but cannot approach their watershed release.

As a cymbal counts off into the introduction of "Never Again", the first riff highlights the problem that the band has. Nothing that they do now, after inspiring so many followers, sounds as fresh as they did when they broke out. The classic Killswitch formula is present, the muscular riffs and pounding rhythms driving the songs under Howard's multi-faceted vocal approach. Nothing is wrong with this approach, but it is too familiar, down to the very details of the guitar tone. This is all stuff that we've heard before.

The band does little to help themselves overcome this apathy, loading the first half of the album with the faster, quirkier songs. "Starting Over" builds the verses on an Iron Maiden styled gallop, turning back to the band's modern approach in the chorus, starting and stopping to break up the proceedings for no reason other than to be different. "Reckoning" is the first single, a short burst of energy that contains all the band's elements, but fails to put them together. "The Forgotten" tries to be different, building from the dramatic pulse of the intro, falling right back into the cliche.

As the record makes its turn to the second half, the band finds their stride. "The Return" is softer, utilizing clean guitars and a wash of fuzz to underscore the sweeping melody Howard spins, as well as the classic guitar harmony that sits back in the mix. "A Light In A Darkened World" has the strongest hook on the album, a tasty slice of razor-edged pop infiltrating the assault. "Take Me Away" has a Malmsteen-esque shredding riff before turning into a hard rock chorus that feels inspired. "I Would Do Anything" is the heaviest song on the album, but remains melodic with another sweeping chorus. "Save Me" and "Lost" are standard-issue Killswitch tracks, but have solid melodies that elevate the songs beyond pastiche.

Killswitch Engage is a short record, the songs coming and going before their can wear out their welcome, a good idea for a band offering more of the same. There is nothing new to be found on the album, the band sticking to their tried and true formula. Unlike their last album, this effort finds them engaged in the songwriting once again, turning out half of a record that could compete with their earlier highlights. Unfortunately, that amounts to twenty minutes of good music, and after three years, that's not enough. A band with the talent to make a great record cannot throw fill their albums with fluff and maintain their status.

Killswitch Engage is a return to form, and a step up, but it isn't quite enough.



Recent reviews by this author
Redemption The Origins of RuinJohn Popper & The Duskray Troubadours John Popper & The Duskray Troubadours
Godsmack The OracleTonic Tonic
Meat Loaf Hang Cool Teddy BearJakob Dylan Women + Country
user ratings (1415)
Chart.
2.6
average
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Thompson D. Gerhart STAFF (2.5)
    A flub, pure and simple. Let's hope Killswitch Engage re-evaluate their "new direction" an...

    Phantom (2.5)
    "Killswitch Engage" covers no real new ground in terms of musical progression, with the ba...

    Crownley (2.5)
    Killswitch Engage attempts to appeal to a larger audience, but forgets how to appeal to th...

    when_darkness_falls (3)
    More of the same from Metalcore icons makes for dull listening.......

  • Blindsided (4)
    Brutal, crushing, melodic and just as metal as you ordered your Killswitch....

    Oneiron (1.5)
    Lamb of God isn't the only band into ripping themselves off anymore....

    ZomarK (2.5)
    Progression? I see no Progression. Sure they are more technical but I was really lookin fo...

    peartnoy (3.5)
    Overly catchy and somewhat repetitive, but still a very pleasant listen....

  • Locrian (3)
    Although it doesn't live up to what the band promised, Killswitch Engage's fifth album is ...



Comments:Add a Comment 
timbo8
June 22nd 2009


627 Comments


in the summary it should be "descent." Other than that great review

Lelle
June 22nd 2009


2474 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

vat

Willie
Moderator
June 22nd 2009


17610 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I haven't heard this, but if they're not doing anything different than I can't see the summary being true. Nice review, though.

Relinquished
June 22nd 2009


38408 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Meh, this does nothing for me

ninjuice
June 22nd 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Definitely not better than ADD - this is the similar but inferior sequel.

Motiv3
June 22nd 2009


9023 Comments


so boring this album..

ConorMichaelJoseph
June 22nd 2009


1870 Comments


Still swimming in a sea of mediocrity

Cesar
June 22nd 2009


2732 Comments


After the first album, I see no more hope for this band in terms of releasing real good music.

ninjuice
June 22nd 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Wait, what? Alive or Just Breathing owns, and is easily their best.

BallsToTheWall
June 22nd 2009


48994 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

Yeah, no. teoh easily beats aojb.

Digging: Protector - Golem

Cesar
June 22nd 2009


2732 Comments


I mean, that the first album was the only decent one, after that, what I've listen from the rest, I have no hope for smthng better.

BallsToTheWall
June 22nd 2009


48994 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

teoh owned in every way imaginable. Bigger production, better singing/screaming, better songwriting, more quality songs, and moar killer riffage. i suppose it's just a matter of preference because i see it no other fucking way.

ninjuice
June 22nd 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

First five songs off of AOJB >>>> each of the other four albums

Relinquished
June 22nd 2009


38408 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

More like the first twelve songs

ninjuice
June 22nd 2009


6760 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yeah but imo those are the best ones.

BassDemon333
June 22nd 2009


3435 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Being a fan of Killswitch, I enjoyed this album all the way through. I don't think its nearly as strong or good as AOJB or TEOH but it's still solid, good stuff from them. Howard's vocals got a bit heavier IMO. Good Review.

MentalityOfA
June 23rd 2009


1213 Comments


Alive Or Just Breathing is their best.

Captain North
June 23rd 2009


6793 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

All I can say is at least they're trying.

Motiv3
June 23rd 2009


9023 Comments



All I can say is at least they're trying.

Lol

morjens
June 23rd 2009


207 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

as a fan of the band aswell, I think this is a step-up from ADD and I'm happy with the record and

direction. It's catchy and fun to listen to already after my 1st listen, which wasn't the case when

I heard ADD the first time.



The band showcases they can still write really heavy tunes and really catchy stuff. 'Save Me' is the

only weak track since it just repeats the lousy chorus all the time and mixed with the cliché deja-

vu lyrics about some relationship stuff. It works in songs like 'The Return' and 'Lost' but those

songs are a lot more interesting.



edit: I might get some hate for such a "high" rating or positivity about the record, well sorry for

expressing MY opinion and realizing when catchy good music is infront of me.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy