Killswitch Engage
Incarnate


2.0
poor

Review

by Quattro Bajeena CONTRIBUTOR (153 Reviews)
March 13th, 2016 | 225 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Killswitch not-so Engaging

"What did you expect?" or "It's just Killswitch being Killswitch", are two of the more common defenses you'll hear from fans fighting in favor of the Massachusetts metalcore titan's seventh album Incarnate. To a modicum of a degree they are correct; to expect any drastic difference in Killswitch Engage's performance inevitably invites disappointment. The band has curated a formula that has allowed them to take fewer risks over the years while still being granted phenomenal success, and honestly, there's nothing inherently wrong with finding what you're good at and sticking to it. However using that excuse to validate the material on their most recent album is wholly unacceptable. They've finally crossed the threshold of self-parody, and there's no pardon to be given for Incarnate's diluted interpretation of the patented Killswitch Engage sound.

Killswitch have slowly been watering down their melodeath-based metalcore since The End of Heartache, but it's always packed just enough of a punch to remain compelling. Incarnate on the other hand is a wholly flaccid release, limp and lifeless. There is no power or conviction behind what the band is doing anymore. The "heavier" tracks on the album like "The Great Deceit" and pre-release single "Strength of the Mind" sound so dialed in, like the band's only claim to creating aggressive music is that's what they think they should be doing. Admittedly, Adam D's production is ideal, but working in tandem with the weak performance renders every riff and roar frustratingly powerless and sterile.

Not that anyone would really be expecting them to take a risk, but one of the more disappointing aspects of Incarnate is that there are certain points where it sounds like they are almost attempting to go for it. "Cut Me Loose" which ironically does NOT cut loose in the slightest is perhaps the best example. Throughout the staggered power-chords of its first-half, it feels like something exciting is bubbling right below surface, ready to explode at any given moment. Unfortunately this moment never comes to pass, and though the later part of the song certainly picks up the pace, it's so textbook Killswitch that point is essentially rendered moot. Structurally, "It Falls On Me" is easily one of the more exciting pieces, fusing together acoustic passages, post-rock-esque tremolo guitars, and some interesting vocal interplay between Jesse and Adam; sadly, it lacks any solid hook and the more obtuse construction only serves to lessen how memorable it could have been.

If there is one highlight, it is easily Jesse Leach's cleans. Understandably passing years and maturity have taken a toll on the feral delivery of his screams, but his ability to hit soaring choruses has certainly reached new heights. The only problem -and quite a large one at that- is that there is really nothing worth remembering on Incarnate. Despite his improved range, he utterly fails in actually making good use of it.The best thing it does here is remind you of older, stronger songs in their catalog that sound similar but are actually worth the time to revisit.

The rest of the album suffers from sounding like lesser versions of previously Killswitch Engage songs. It may seem like a lazy accusation to levy at a group whose foundation is recycling In Flames and At the Gates riffs, but here it's reached a new level of unacceptable. Which brings us to the most frustrating aspect of this release; the belief that Killswitch Engage are capable of doing better. If not from a point of creativity, than at the very least a point of quality. If this record had followed the same path of treading old territory but actually featured some stronger songs, this would be a worthy addition to the KSE canon. However, the only thing they've done copy themselves in the most unflattering fashion. Incarnate is easily the most forgettable album in Killswitch Engage's discography, so fans do yourself a favor and avoid.



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user ratings (507)
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
Chamberbelain CONTRIBUTOR (3)
Despite this slightly disappointing release, Killswitch Engage are still the mentors of metalcore....

ParkersCannon (4)
Killswitch Engage returns to the studio and puts out their best album in years....

Toondude (4)
We carry on...


Comments:Add a Comment 
TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
March 13th 2016


26187 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I was initially going to give this a 2.5, but the more I listened to it the more I disliked it.

Digging: Sigh - Imaginary Sonicscape

Sinternet
March 13th 2016


20781 Comments


Completely agree with this, whole thing is lifeless and formulaic.

Digging: Andy Stott - It Should Be Us

Mongi123
March 13th 2016


20591 Comments


Nice review man. Never listened to this band, don't really intend to.

HardTarget
March 13th 2016


35 Comments


You're not missing much.

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
March 13th 2016


10662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

"Never listened to this band, don't really intend to."



unless you just really dislike this style of metalcore, you'd be missing out pretty hard when it comes to their older records at least

Mongi123
March 13th 2016


20591 Comments


Ya I know one of their albums has a 4 average which is pretty high, but metalcore isn't usually my cup of tea.

Titan
March 13th 2016


19960 Comments


a couple decent records in their earlier days and MAYBE a handful of decent songs since then.......normal every day jobs for most of these band members are looming

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
March 13th 2016


26187 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Their first four are great, but if you don't like metalcore then yes, avoid.

Toondude10
March 13th 2016


14115 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

boooooooooo

Digging: Norma Jean - All Hail

Toondude10
March 13th 2016


14115 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

""What did you expect?" or "It's just Killswitch being Killswitch", are two of the more common defenses you'll hear from fans fighting in favor of the Massachusetts metalcore titan's seventh album Incarnate."



Those don't sound like defenses, I don't recall any KSE fan saying that in defense on the band

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
March 13th 2016


10662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

"normal every day jobs for most of these band members are looming"



that's harsh, and unfounded since they're still pretty popular

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
March 13th 2016


57021 Comments


I actually like daylight dies the best

Digging: Counterparts - Nothing Left to Love

Titan
March 13th 2016


19960 Comments


gameofmetal i wouldn't be surprised if a couple of them already have another job

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
March 13th 2016


26187 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Those don't sound like defenses, I don't recall any KSE fan saying that in defense on the band




"So bland, so painfully average..blah blah blah. It's what they do well. Why would they change the formula at this point?"



"Yeah, I don't need to hear this to know what it sounds like, but whatever. I feel like these guys could really put out something special if they'd get out of their comfort zone a bit."



"This song is great! Killswitch definitely have an established sound at this point, but they execute at a high level."



Aside from the last comment which is ridiculous, these are basically comments admitting to the fact that it's okay for them to just sound the same. These were only a few from one thread here, I'm sure I looked into others I would find more.



Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
March 13th 2016


57021 Comments


wtf they tour a lot and play small theaters and shit

I mean Adam D has another job cuz he produces records but lol

Ocean of Noise
March 13th 2016


10743 Comments


I'm probably not gonna check this one out anytime soon. I really enjoyed Disarm the Descent though.

Digging: Katatonia - Viva Emptiness (10th Anniversary Version)

Mort.
Contributing Reviewer
March 13th 2016


14586 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

"Those don't sound like defenses, I don't recall any KSE fan saying that in defense on the band"



Have you been burying your head in the sand? These are the exact sorta things people have been defending them with in the news articles for them of late and in othrr places



Great review and i entirely agree

Digging: Camel - Mirage

Trebor.
Staff Reviewer
March 13th 2016


57021 Comments


I don't get why these kids want to hear the same album over and over again

Gameofmetal
Emeritus
March 13th 2016


10662 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

"I actually like daylight dies the best"



aye treb got it rite



"wtf they tour a lot and play small theaters and shit



I mean Adam D has another job cuz he produces records but lol"



[2]

TalonsOfFire
Staff Reviewer
March 13th 2016


18876 Comments


Alive and Heartache are by far their best, but even they're not genre classics or anything. Daylight has some good tunes too I suppose.

Digging: Amon Tobin - Long Stories



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