Killswitch Engage
Alive or Just Breathing



by Utopia768 USER (2 Reviews)
June 9th, 2006 | 9 replies

Release Date: 2002 | Tracklist

Killswitch Engage were formed in Massachusets in in the early 90's and have grown to be one of the biggest names in metal today. In this album, Killswitch was lead by frontman Jesse Leach instead of Howard Jones and had Tom on drums instead of Justin. Though i do feel Justin is the better drummer, I think Jesse was a better frontman. He put so much more emotion into his singing and screaming, and the band to me had a more unique sound and better lyrics than it does today. This band has become known as one of the first metalcore bands, and this album is their greatest. The song setup is:

1) Numbered Days- This is one of my favorite Killswitch songs, from the start Jesse comes out screaming with such intensity over the onslaught of heavy riffs. It slows down for a second as he talks quietly behind the guitar then goes straight into what i call "The Metal Riff." It just sounds so easy but heavy at the same time.This song brings an in your face sound and a suttle but great chorus that starts off the album as good as any. 5/5

2) Self-Revolution- This songs starts with a fast and short riff behind Jesse's blistering scream. It goes into a little palm muting riff behind Jesse's great clean voice and has a sweet chorus were both Jesse and Adam sing (Adam has both a pretty kick ass scream and a cool clean voice). One thing i notice about Killswitch that not many other metalcore bands do is that they change there verse riff. Most bands have a verse, a chorus, then the same verse riff. Killswitch have a verse, a chorus, and then a different verse. Anyway the song ends on the fast riff that started the song. 5/5

3) Fixation on the Darkness- OK I lied about "The Metal Riff" being in Numbered Days, it actually is in this song. Joel's riff he plays at the start and throughout this song is "The Metal Riff." The lyrics to this song are also some of my favorites. This song is all about societies need to change to maintain its stability. The song has a great uplifting chorus where Jesse sings clean and screams in the background. And finally, towards the end of the song YOU CAN HEAR THE BASS!!! Not something many metal bands do that they should. Great song by the way. 4.5/5

4) My Last Serenade- I'm sure anyone who knows Killswitch either know this song or End of Heartache, it is a great song. Starts off very soft with what sounds like a church choir singing and Jesse quietly singing with them. It goes into a cool bend riff then goes straight into the pounding verse. The verse then speeds up and goes into an amazing chorus were Jesse and Adam sing. The second verse riff is slower but more complex and keeps the song flowing nicely. Ends on the sweet chorus and the church choir singing, great song. 5/5

5) Life to Lifeless-This starts off with a cool palm muting riff which goes into a simple power chord verse. It slows down with another palm mute riff and goes into a nice and loud chorus as Jesse sings "Life to eternity, Life to Lifeless the cycle repeats." Cool second verse riff more complex like My Last Serenade and ends on the second verse riff with Adam playing an octave. 4/5

6) Just Barely Breathing-Although this is one of Killswitch's least popular songs it is definitely one of my favorites. It starts off with a slow echoing clean guitar riff which builds into a sweet slow harmonized riff leading to a sweet picked up verse. The lyrics in this song are so great you can tell all of Jesse's heart and soul is put into them. He shows his "mountain yell" as i like to call it in this song where he doesn't scream or sing, it just sounds like he's used up all his might in one yell. The line "Are We Alive or Just Breathing" sends chills down your spine. Then he goes into a slower clean chorus which fades away as the song ends. 5/5

7) To the Sons of Man-This is my least favorite song on the album. It is about 2 minutes long and the verse riffs are too simple. There just fast picking on the top string and a little hammering. I also don't like Adams singing in this one, it sounds too overproduced, like there has been too many effects put over it. 3/5

8) Temple from the Within- Starts off sounding almost off. Jesse's voice has already started screaming before the song had been recorded. But it has a cool power chord sliding beat that picks up as the song continues. It then goes into a cool little bass and drum breakdown then the guitars come back in. Cool heavy palm mute riff that drones out slowly as the song ends. 3.5/5

9) The Element of One- Another favorite of mine. It is so melodic but heavy enough to maintain its credibility. Starts off with a clean guitar leading into this beautiful series of notes played by Adam over Joel's held out and palm muted notes. Jesse starts off singing clean before going into a fast heart pounding verse with his trademark scream. This song has a lot more clean but the chorus is done so well it can't be hated. It then goes to a quick clean guitar where Jesse mumbles "I will return to you." It goes into a fast breakdown and more clean singing and mountain yelling by Jesse before it ends on his best vocal performance yet. He just puts all his emotion into the lyrics and the song ends on a repeated long note riff with the bass over the top. 5/5

10) Vide Infra- Starts off sounding a little similar to Sons of Man then goes into a sweet tap-like riff with another similar sounding verse. The best part of this songs starts off where he mountain yells "I am not afraid to speak my mind." he then says some great lyrics over a great double guitar uplifting riff. He then just goes insane and yells at the top of his lungs over an epic riff "We will realize true equality." Ends on a cool octave riff over Jesse whispering into the mic. 4/5

11) Without a Name- Cool acoustic break downwith both guitars playing the same thing over and over as feedback from another guitar comes in leading into Rise Inside. 3/5

12) Rise Inside- Slow start with louder bass line and long held out notes. Slower palm muting for the verse until it speeds up as Jesse says "The time has come to make a difference" (Another great lyric). Then faster palm muted second verse and same sped up riff. My favorite part of the song is where it drops to a sudden clean riff and then goes back to the "Time has come" riff. Ends on the same riff that started the song only palm muted as Jesse holds out his scream to end it. 4/5

Great mix of heavy and clean choruses
Good metal riffing that sticks in your head throughout
Songs are very diverse sounding for the most part
THE LYRICS: Some of my favorite lyrics that aren't typical for a metal band. They are all about positivity and love, but also recognizing the corruption within it. Jesse is a brilliant songwriter.

Songs follow similar setup in fact that they are verse, chorus, verse
Jesses scream can sound repetitive (but how many screams don't)

By the extended version that's out now. It comes with a sweet second CD with other great songs that didn't make the album like "Into the Unblind" as well as various demo versions of their songs.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Drunken Viking
June 10th 2006


Ok review, but don't use words like cool, or awesome. Those could mean either anything, I think that In Flames' Embody the Invisible is cool, and so is Lamb Of God's Laid To Rest, so it doesn't really tell me a lot about it.

June 10th 2006


I think Howard is much better than Jesse, but I swing back and forth about whether AoJB was better than EoH.
You know how it is, some days you just fixate on the darkness so much that you're barely breathing, but then other days you remember to breath life and bid farewell.

Drunken Viking
June 10th 2006



June 10th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

the review was decent at best but anyway, one of my favourites albums at the moment

June 10th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

Pretty decent review. This album is great.

Digging: Converge - The Dusk in Us

June 16th 2006


Album Rating: 4.0

my favourite song from here has got to be Self Revolution

July 14th 2006


Album Rating: 4.5

It was an okay review. Maybe a little bit more detail. And don't lie. It's not nice.

January 27th 2007


aight review for an awesome record

October 4th 2008


Jesse was far and away better than HJ, imo

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