Killswitch Engage was formed in 1999 when Overcasts bassist, Mike D’Antonio met Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel from Aftershock. Adam became the drummer while Joel remained on guitar. Later on, they found vocalist Jesse Leach formerly of Corrin and Nothing Stays Gold. While touring with the famous In Flames, the record label Ferret took notice of Killswitch Engages aggressive live show. The band got signed with the record label and began recording their debut album. With this debut album, they managed to get a record deal with Roadrunner Records. Just after, Adam decided to become the lead guitarist so the band brought in former Aftershock drummer, Tom Gomes. The release of their 2nd album in 2002, Alive of Just Breathing increased the bands popularity by a lot. Sadly in June 2002, Jesse has to leave due to a deep depression (He had gotten recently married before touring and the fact that he and his wife were separated from each other depressed him). Luckily just after, he was replaced by Howard Jones, of Blood Has Been Shed. In 2003, drummer Tom Gomes left as well to go live with his Wife in Los Angeles. He was replaced by Jones' fellow Blood Has Been Shed band member, Justin Foley. On May 11 2004, they released their 3rd album, The End of Heartache and on November 22, 2005, KsE released (Set This) World Ablaze, a live DVD.
According to Roadrunner Records' official website, KSE will begin work on their next album this year, and it is rumoured to be released on November 7th, 2006.
Killswitch Engage is:
Howard Jones - Vocals
Joel Stroetzl - Guitar
Adam Dutkiewicz - Guitar
Tom Gores - Drums
Mike D'Antonio - Bass
The End of Heartache, Killswitch Engages third effort is without doubt their best release to date. The album is packed with brutal guitar riffs and aggressive screams and yet they can still incorporate their “trademark” melodic choruses in between all this destruction. The band makes use of beautiful riffs (greatly influenced by the melodic death metal band, At the Gates) featuring dual-guitar harmonies with pinch harmonies a la “Zakk Wylde”. Songs like “A Bid Farewell” and “Rose of Sharyn” clearly show us those elements. Although the melodic ballad “The End of Heartache” shows us the lighter side of the album, certain other songs like “When Darkness Falls”, “Hope is…” and “Wasted Sacrifice” show us KsEs darker and more aggressive side. The fact that Howard Jones replaced former singer Jesse Leach might disappoint some older “narrow-minded” fans, but he is an excellent singer (and more trained) and worthy as replacement. Not only are his screams incredibly well done (Begin of “When Darkness Falls”) but his melodic voice clearly shows us his high point. (His singing on “Rose of Sharyn” is phenomenal). Although the drumming isn’t incredibly technical, Justin Foley does a fine job behind his drum kit and he can give us some very fast double-bassing here and there (“Take this Oath”). In just a few words, this album is almost near perfection and it is as good as their previous effort, “Alive or Just Breathing”. Killswitch Engage have shown us that it’s possible to give a light side to a music portrayed by everyone as evil and dark. Not only are they the pioneesr of the metal-core genre but also one of the best and all these clones (Caliban) should stop trying to copy their unique sound. Adam D. did a great work on producing this album and he is worthy of being a producer. The only con would be that there is only one solo on the whole album (Breathe Life). This is a bit disappointing seeing as the guitarists are very very talented and their riffs show that potential in them. Shame on you if don’t own this album or even “AOJB”.
Note: The special edition features the live version of “Life to Lifeless”, “Fixation on the Darkness” and “My Last Serenade”, a re-mastered version of their older song “Irreversal”, and another song called “My Life for Yours” (very good in my opinion). If you’re a hardcore fan, buy this.
- Excellent dual-guitar harmonised riffs.
- The melodic choruses are of course what KsE is best at doing.
- Howard Jones is just as good as Jesse Leach. He has a great potential in both screaming and singing.
- Only one solo on this album is not enough.
- “Inhale” and “And Embers Rises” are pretty much 2 short and useless fillers although they sound very beautiful.
- Rose of Sharyn – An aggressive yet melodic song with very beautiful lyrics.
- Take this Oath – This song has some of the catchiest riffs ever. The chorus has Jesse singing along with Howard screaming.
- When Darkness Falls – The darker and faster song of the album.
- The End of Heartache – A melodic ballad.
- A Bid Farewell – It has some of the most simplistic yet destructive riffs ever and it also features a beautiful harmonised chorus.