Killswitch Engage (2009) Review

artist: killswitch engage date: 01/22/2010 category: compact discs
killswitch engage: Killswitch Engage (2009)
Released: Jun 30, 2009
Genre: Metalcore
Label: Roadrunner
Number Of Tracks: 11
The leaders of the recent, resurgent, early 00s metal scene storm forth with their latest album, which shares its name with their first album.
 Sound: 8.3
 Lyrics: 8.3
 Overall Impression: 8.5
 Overall rating:
 7.9 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.4 
 Users rating:
 7.4 
 Votes:
 150 
reviews (12) 99 comments vote for this album:
overall: 6.7
Killswitch Engage (2009) Reviewed by: Eurasian_C, on june 30, 2009
7 of 11 people found this review helpful

Sound: When I first read on Ultimate Guitar.com a while back the KSE article that mentioned their choice for a self-titled album, it threw me off; however, it made me curious and all the more interested when they said it was time for a "brand new start". So I was all for it. A couple weeks back, "Starting Over" premiered on Headbangers Ball, and for the most part, I was happy. Yeah the guitars seemed a bit simplistic compared to their past efforts, but the song itself was catchy and Howard was actually screaming in the music video. So I had hopes, decently sized hopes for that matter. I recently got my pre-ordered special edition copy with the special silkscreened poster and shirt (great job MikeD). After listening to all the tracks, I came down to this conclusion: the music itself is extremely catchy, big sounding, and melodic, some of the tracks bring back the energy that End of Heartache possessed (holy crap, BREAKDOWNS!?), and it also showcases the best vocal takes that Howard Jones has done in his whole career (clean and screaming). However, I feel that the direction taken by the band is a bit too drastic a split from their particular style. The music arrangements are, all and all, too simplified and (ugh here it comes) traditional; it's almost like they went from metal to heavy rock at some points. Comparing the riffing to The End of Heartache to even Alive or Just Breathing, the music has become too minimalist with riff content and ideas. Though I completely commend Howard's right to use whatever vocals he wants with his music, it just doesn't work so well with this, maybe even KSE in general despite the vocals sounding great. All and all, the music seems to take away from what KSE was originally all about. This album doesn't deserve a bad grade, but it's definitely nothing stellar. // 7

Lyrics: Throughout his whole career with KSE, Howard always stayed true to the original optimistic and upbeat messages that Jesse Leach tried to push forward in the first self titled and Alive or Just Breathing, while of course putting in his own touch with tracks such as "The End of Heartache" and "The Arms of Sorrow". However, my biggest fault with Howard is that most of his motivational songs (if you will) always seemed to have multiple lyrical similarities with all the other motivational songs. To all you other KSE fans and lyrical buffs out there, I'm sure you've noticed the same thing. For example, how many times have you heard the phrases "never falter" or "no surrender"? The truth is this: plenty! Also, another pet peeve about Howard's writing is in his personal lyrics, they always seem to center around the themes of heartache and loneliness. I mean, do I really need to list the number of heartache-based songs he wrote? And with almost the same wording!? However, these lyrical faults seem to be overlooked due to Howard's absolutely stunning vocal performances. So that's not too much of a problem, I suppose. With this new album, the band mentioned a more "dark and personal" approach to things, which I was all right with because every band needs to try something new every now and then. However, I find that the lyrics are, for the most part, okay and nothing special. 01.Nothing Left: Nothing Left was all and all, the biggest surprise I've had from this album. It was heavy as BALLS for KSE, had sick breakdown-like grooves, good sense of melody, and Howard sounded awesome. I really liked what Howard did in the bridge with the overlapping vocal parts. Lyrically, Howard is repeating the idea of "I hope you suffer as I have suffered". Repetition of a phrase is fine, but don't let it take up a good part of the song. You find this phrase in verses, chorus, and bridge. 02.Starting Over: Starting Over is the first single off the album, and right off the bat, you can tell it's a heartache song. However, this song all and all sounds absolutely great. Lyrically, it seems a bit cliche' with the rhyming choruses "where we started....can't be discarded". There's a line in the bridge that actually seems related to a line in As Daylight Dies' "Desperate Times"; while Starting Over's line is "But you mean so much more to me. Than anything I've ever known," Desperate Times' line is "But your voice means more to me, than you'll ever know". I mean, I hate to say it, but that's kind of lame. If anything, that was the one thing I picked up on when I first listened to this song. Other than that, it's catchy and Howard sounds great in this. 03.The Forgotten: Probably the most different track on this album because of its slow, southern rock riffing and tempo, this features an almost "call and response" vocal pattern with Howard Jones switching from screaming to singing in the verses. The lyrics aren't as cliche' as Starting Over, even though you can tell that this is probably about another heartache. Once again, and this will return with the rest of these songs, repetition seems to kill this a bit. Towards the end of the bridge, Howard repeats the phrase "I hope it was worth the cost" three times, and In the pre-chorus, he screams "Just look at yourself do you like what you see? I want no more of you, watch me walk away." I mean, there's nothing wrong with repetition, but that just gets a bit too ridiculous. Repetition should be used sparingly so it's not seen as just filling in dead space. 04.Reckoning: very repetitious with the chorus lines right from the get go. Definitely not one of my favorites on this album. I feel like Howard could've done a lot more with this song. That's all I can really say. Seems very average. 05.The Return: The Return is the first of many full-out clean sung songs. Definitely another heartache song. Though the lyrics seem a bit more deep than the others, they still fall under the same cliches. I don't know, it's like after a while, these sort of lyrics start to become lame. And as much a KSE fan I am, I want to be impressed for the money I spend for an album by one of my favorite bands...especially a pre-ordered copy! 06.A Light In A Darkened World: lyrically and musically, this is textbook contemporary KSE. Probably the most boring track on the album (even though it sounds better recorded than live on Youtube), it's also the only song that lyrically stays in touch with the original upbeat and optimistic KSE message. It's all and all very cliche' and chock full of the same stuff we've heard before. 07.Take Me Away: the second clean-singing song on here, it seems to be slightly more interesting than the others. It's not as cliche' as some of the other ones, but is still a little bit on the cliche' side. It's repetitive towards the end with the ongoing "Take me away..." line. The vocal delivery is great, but still doesn't really save it in my opinion. 08.I Would Do Anything: one of the most energetic songs on the album, this is one of the most interesting examples of Howard's writing. I mean with the exception of the repeating line "I would do anything", it's not too bad. In fact some of the lines are pretty interesting, such as "The words die in my throat, and there is nothing I can do. From a child to a monster, and now a child amongst monsters...". Not only that, the vocal delivery just makes this song, for the most part, really good. This song seems to stand out amongst the rest. 09.Save Me: painfully cliche' and repetitive. Will you save me? Will you still believe? These questions pop up in the song like a verbal whack-a-mole game. It starts to get annoying after a while. Reading the album sleeve while writing this review is actually making this a bit more frustrating, to be completely honest. 10.Lost: this clean-sung song I've been able to honestly connect to. If they had to choose one clean song to stay on this album, I would definitely choose this one because this is just gold. Sure it's cliche' but it's good. The vocal performance is great and it meshes well with the music. I agree with Howard that sometimes singing does portray the emotion more than screaming, but unfortunately I feel that this is the only song that it really pertains to. 11.This Is Goodbye: probably my favorite song on this album, with the exception of the rhyme scheme. I mean it works, but I just don't like it. Lyrically though, everything flows very well, especially with the powerful vocal delivery from Howard. What really caught my eye was the bridge: "It's my blasphemy hoping not to wake. Each day is the nightmare, sleep is freedom. You gave but it was not enough. Your strength was not enough, never enough." As I had mentioned before, these darker lyrics have sort of driven away from the original upbeat KSE message, which may alarm some traditional KSE fans; however, I feel that vocalists who don't write what they mean or feel are shitty vocalists with shallow verbal babblings. This is definitely my favorite track next to Never Again. All and all, these are average lyrics enhanced by stellar vocal performances. They definitely could have been pushed more, but then again, how much can you really do with such simple sounding music? // 6

Overall Impression: Mike D'Antonio, whom I pretty much worship as the ideal graphic designer I'd want to be, said that there was no real concept to the album work, except for an iconic approach and ultimately creating a "violent-looking" metal record. However, this album doesn't even really come close to that, either that, it hit the mark but doesn't really soar over it. To be honest, the album just has a very complacent feel to it. I've been a KSE fan for several years, which I know isn't enough compared to all the diehard KSE fans out there who've been there for them since 1998, but even I know and feel that this isn't even close to what KSE is truly capable of. Listening to "Alive or Just Breathing" and "The End of Heartache", I hear a lot of aggressive, ballsy, and catchy riffs that people could really feel, as well as good solid arrangements, while this album just seems to showcase...well...mediocre riffs that seem to undermine the two great guitar players. This vast difference between present release and past releases can be sort of compared to Soilwork: The Chainheart Machine to Soilwork: Figure Number Five. All and all, I would buy this to support the band and their cause because they're still a great band and they've done and still do great things for the scene. However, I honestly feel that this is a very average release. // 7

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overall: 8
Killswitch Engage (2009) Reviewed by: UG Team, on june 30, 2009
5 of 10 people found this review helpful

Sound: Killswitch Engage albums have always boasted the crisp, clean production of guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz, also known as Adam D., he of the booty shorts, capes and onstage comedic relief. Dutkiewicz's production was never sterile or too polished, either. He just made every note, riff and beat clear as a bell and thus allowed his band to have a DNA-distinct sound that many copied, but few could fully replicate. For Killswitch Engage and for the first time in their career, the band recruited outside yet noted knobsman Brendan O'Brien to co-man the boards with Dutkiewicz and truthfully, there's not too much different in the band's sound due to O'Brien's handy work. Non-fine-tuned ears as in, those who don't really do or understand the subtle nuances of production work- won't pick up on much of a difference due to this change, but it's there if you really listen. Overall, there, it still sounds like Killswitch, who are known for distortion, soaring vocals buttressed by neck vein-bulging screams, drummer Justin Foley's thunderous, high-voltage beats and the bellowing rhythms of bassist Mike D, as well as the riffwork doled out by Dutkiewicz and unsung hero Joel Stroetzel. Killswitch Engage represents the Killswitch Engage that you know and love, and those big, singable melodies and choruses have ballooned even more on Starting Over and The Reckoning. // 8

Lyrics: Jones, who has been KsE's singer longer than ex-singer Jesse Leach was, is often still viewed as Leach's replacement! You'd think, by now, that shadow wouldn't lurk over Jones' shoulder! He has come into his own since 2004's The End of Heartache, and he continues to hit the notes, wax about relationships, faith-issues and other relatable issue on this second self-titled effort. While Leach sang on the original, eponymous KsE record, this is Jones' KsE record with a self-titling. He's bigger and bolder and more confident than ever when he belts it out over the bone-cracking riffs. // 8

Overall Impression: KsE definitely patented a formula when they took over the metal scene a few years back. When the New Wave of America Metal scene was blowing up, KsE were rising to the top. Even though they didn't coin, and certainly won't take ownership of that phrase, KsE achieved higher record sales, more radio airplay, the lion's share of press and recognition in the scene, trumping their peers. They were able to share stages with My Chemical Romance, Underoath and The Used as easily as they were with Slayer, Mastodon and Hypocrisy. Killswitch Engage proves why the band could live in both worlds so effortlessly: it's the hooks, the choruses, the moshability and the subtle, sludgy thud that are the current that run through the album and allow the band to appeal to a wide cross-section of heavy music fans. KsE doesn't polarize with Killswitch Engage and while their endless legion of fans may not deem this record their best effort, it's still another fine addition to their catalog. // 8


- Amy Sciarretto (c) 2009

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overall: 8.7
Killswitch Engage (2009) Reviewed by: Amuro Jay, on june 30, 2009
2 of 4 people found this review helpful

Sound: I'll be honest. When I heard that Killswitch Engage were to be working with an outside producer, I was nervous. The band had never worked with an outside producer. I thought it was weird that they would be working with someone who was best known for his work with bands like AC/DC, Rage Against The Machine, and The Offspring. Turns out that I had nothing to worry about. The band's sound changed just a bit, but it could most definitely be seen as a good change. The music is still fierce, but it has become increasingly melodic. Aggressive riffing paired with powerful choruses are a combo that can't be beat. There are also sweet leads and a couple of guitar solos spread throughout the album, which is unusual for Killswitch. I think the only time I heard a solo from them was their Holy Dive cover. And that wasn't even their song. Metalcore itself has been getting pretty stale lately with all these bands playing the same riffs over and over. Luckily, Killswitch Engage hasn't fallen victim to this trend yet. Instead, their riffs (that doesn't include the chugging parts/powerchords, guys) have gotten more creative, and in some points, even technical. If you want to get a good idea of what some of the riffs on this record sound like, go back to their previous album (As Daylight Dies) and listen to the song Break The Silence. That's exactly the song I thought of when I heard the intro to Take Me Away, or the chorus in Never Again. The breakdowns have also become less frequent and less noticeable. There is also some great clean guitar work. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics are really the only part where I can whine a little bit. Ever since Howard joined the band, the music has been a little depressing. Sure, Jesse was depressing at times, but he wrote a lot of songs that were uplifting as well. Whenever I think of Jesse, I think of songs like Vide Infra, Rise Inside, and Self Revolution. They all had a sense of positiveness in the lyrics. Whenever I think of Howard, songs like The End of Heartache, Rose of Sharyn, and The Arms of Sorrow come to mind. Those are all great songs, but they're all so depressing. Ok, so I'm being a bit biased. Howard has also written some positive songs. But on this album, there are probably only two songs or so that actually have an uplifting mood. Everything else is either something like "Just take away this sorrow, it's to much to bear" or "Each day is a new failure". Don't get me wrong, I love Howard as a lyricist and as a singer. He writes great songs and is one hell of a vocalist. It seems like his vocals get better with every album. His clean vocals are thick and almost operatic, and his screams will shatter your spine. What I really love about this record is that there are some parts where it sounds like the vocals are almost orchestrated. There are some parts where the backing vocals really help create a deeper atmosphere. In the end, it really helps convey the emotions of the music. // 8

Overall Impression: Killswitch Engage has come a long way from their 2000 debut of the same name. In that nine years, their sound has gone through some major changes. One thing that remains the same though, is that these guys put their hearts into their music. This album was a pleasant surprise for me. For some reason I was expecting less out of this record, but I ended up getting more. Maybe it's ok that they worked with another producer, right? Didn't seem to do any harm. The album is a step up from their last, and an extra step above a lot of the records coming out from their competing peers. There are a lot of metalcore bands out there that have forgotten how to actually write their own music. All they do is play the same notes over and over in different patterns. Killswitch Engage knows how to keep it fresh. In my opinion, this album is definitely worth the time and money. Maybe some metal purists might even enjoy it. If you don't feel like getting the album for yourself, at least take the time to check out a few songs like Never Again, I Would Do Anything, A Light in a Darkened World, and Starting Over. You may like what you hear. // 9

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overall: 9.3
Killswitch Engage (2009) Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 30, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: Its definitely a newer sound, Killswitch have gone back to their roots of heavy riffing and blasting vocals, which the previous albums never really lacked. The sound seems much powerful than previous albums, with the perfect blend of shouting verses and a colossal vocal performance from Howard, it makes for some real gems to look out for on this album. Its a cavalcade of melody, of the greatest variety, and after having only a matter of days believe this could be the best album of 2009. There's very few flaws within the 11 intense tracks, if flaws can be found it will be through personal distaste, any Killswitch Engage fan will love this album. Any guitarist looking for a new challenge of the Drop C variety, should definintely grab their axe and try to get the majority of this album down. There are some mind-crushing riffs as always with KSE, but also the occasional solo, which is a delight to hear, considering As Daylight Dies had little if no solos in the entire album. Its an evolved version of Killswitch Engage that fans should relish and look forward to seeing live. // 9

Lyrics: Howard's voice has never been in question, it's probably the most unique and inspiring voices in metal today. Once again the KSE guys have managed to find the perfect blend of shouting and emotional harmonies through choruses and bridges. The lyrics at points can lack flow, which is my only critisizm of Killswitch in this album, some of it sounds like badly written poetry as opposed to the brilliant metalcore band we want to hear. However, despite the occasional rhythmic inaccuracy, the lyrics remain incredible inspiring. Songs like Forgotten, Starting Over and Save Me are a typhoon of lyrical genius. Howard is the icing on the cake for Killswitch Engage, I'm sure that nobody else would be able to do the songs justice as good as him, because its that damn good. The songs remain incredibly humble, there's no lyrics about dragons or warriors or any of that generic crap. This is music which can be related to, This Is Goodbye is lyrically the strongest song of the album and would be my pick for budding vocalists to listen to. // 9

Overall Impression: I expected a weaker album than As Daylight Dies, and how wrong I was. This album is far catchier and more melodic than the previous album, and in comparison with the most recent metal albums such as Trivium's 'Shogun', and Metallica's 'Death Magnetic', I'd say this is definitely a step up. More melody than you can shake a stick at, and a tighter sound than any other band as of late. This album really does blow Killswitch's other work out of the water, it wouldn't suprise me if this album launches Killswitch onto some headline festivals this time next year. Although some songs lack length, the content of them make up for it entirely. Definitely buy this album, as its the best I've heard for a long time! // 10

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overall: 8.3
Killswitch Engage (2009) Reviewed by: roosterfx1, on june 30, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: It's been a while since KSE's previous album "As Daylight Dies", and while the long wait may not seem justified to some, theres no denying they've taken the time to write a solid album. The new self titled album is the first album not to be produced by the multi-talanted Adam D. And it shows. The sound has progressed since The End Of Heartache, but anyone saying it still sounds the same could be forgiven for it, as to the untrained ear it does sound relatively similar. This album sounds more streamlined, and straight-forward to their previous releases. Each song follows a set structure, usually consisting of a core riff, screamed verses, sung chorus and a semi-acousting little breakdown towards the end of the song. This wouldn't be a good thing for most artist, luckily its what Kse do best. The choruses are huge and memorable and will only take a few listens to sink in. Never Again, Reckoning, I Would Do Anything all feature beautifully sung choruses by Howard Jones, that contrast the brutality of his aggresive screamed verse lines. Despite most of the songs following a set structure, ironically its also their most varied and diverse album to date. The Return, is different to anything they've ever done before. Its atmospheric and and layered guitars perfectly compliment Howard's fantastic vocals that sound genuinely heartfelt. Another song unusual for KSE is Take Me Away. Its the first song they've ever writtn that doesnt feature any screaming at all. The whole song is sung in a clean vocal style that changes from mellow to loud and strong on the chorus, displaying Howards ability to create contrast even without screaming. There are a few dissapointing aspects about the album however. Any fan of KSE will know they are famous for their "anthems". Song that make you want to jump up and sing, or just mosh like crazy. Every KSE album has before had them. "Alive Or Just Breathing" had My Last Serenade, Fixation On The Darkness and Life To Lifeless. "The End Of Heartache" had Rose Of Sharyn and The End Of Heartache. "As Daylight Dies" had My curse, Holy Dive and Eye of The Storm. Here however, I struggled to find any triple-A stand out tracks. They are all good, and of a consistend quality, but none of them truly stand out the same way My Curse or any other stellar KSE song does. Light In A Darkened world sounds like a slightly less good version of Holy Diver, and the first single Starting Over, while quite a nice catchy song, lacks that energy to move crowds and have them throw their arms in the air. The second issue I personally have with this album is its not as riff-heavy as As Daylight Die or any other album. Each song only really features one core riff. The first half of the album ( with the exception of Never Again, and The Return ) is much weaker than the second half. It only really picks up with Take Me Away, and the last 4 tracks. // 8

Lyrics: I have seen a lot of people saying that the lyrical content and theme is exactly the same as their previous releases, and that its getting stale. This is actually not the case at all. KSE have always sung about perseverence in life and love, and have tried to voice a message of hope rather than preach about destruction. However on this new album The theme is darker and much more personal. Never Again, The Return and Reckoning have the oposite message. I applaud their lryical content as it touches on the most important issue in the world, human feeling. // 9

Overall Impression: KSE have been criticised for still being a metal-core band. However they were one of the first american metalcore bands and were the forefathers of american style metal-core. Its imbedded in their sound and to change it would be a shame, just because countless other talentless bands have leached off a genre they helped create. Their sound is slowly progressing, and if you compare their first self titled to 2009's self titled, I think the transormation is extremely evident. Kse have Produced a solid album of a consitent quality, that while may not have as many "anthemic stand-out" songs, features some of their most interesting work to date such as The Return, I Would Do Anything and Lost. It is the most accessible album to new fans, but to older fans it may take time to sink in and truly appreciate. // 8

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overall: 8.7
Killswitch Engage (2009) Reviewed by: unregistered, on july 02, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Sound: This is Killswitch Engage as pure as it comes. KsE have always produced a distinct, tight sound that has in past years caused huge waves amongst listeners. Adam Dutkiewicz again delivers a plethora of strong melodic riffs that KsE are so recognised for. Notably Joel Stroetzel, the bands co-guitar player features an even greater role in the songwriting process which, while still keeping the sound very much the tried and tested Killswitch sound introduces something subtly different. The album is work that continues to build on their previous sound and still manages to explore some new areas. Killswitch Engage features a more focused role for singer Howard Jones whos vocals, particularly in "Lost" and "Take me Away" harness the use of his slick, deep voice truly unique to the metal scene. The soaring riffs and undeniably catchy rhythms of "Reckoning" and "Starting Over" makes this album a powerful work that has made KsE such a well respected band. // 9

Lyrics: Howard Jones continues to deliver tales of relationships and faith that have been prominent in previous albums since his joining in 2002. Indeed, after delivering a mind blowing performance with "The End of Heartache" album Jones has continued to put his own brand of vocals that have delivered such success to the band. Noting "Take me Away" Jones has taken an even tighter grip on his huge voice and delivers a stunning set of clean vocals. Not forgetting the enormous strength of his voice, particularly in "Reckoning" Jones' vocals are stronger than ever. Howard Jones contiunes to deliver a brilliant performance and keeps his lyrics in such a way that many listeners can still relate to his music. // 8

Overall Impression: It would be too easy on first hearing Killswitch Engage's self-titled album to say that not much has really changed in the three years after the bands 2006 album 'As Daylight Dies'. The truth is, Killswitch have taken what's made them so strong in the past and created an album that oozes quality. KsE's self titled album will have tunes that I'm sure you'll be dying to play along to (if that's your thing) and will no doubt impress on you the brilliant feel of the band. Arguably, this time round KsE may not have made as big an impact as previous titles but still adds a wanderful and powerful new album to their repertoire. // 9

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overall: 9.3
Killswitch Engage (2009) Reviewed by: ZigZag667, on july 14, 2009
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Sound: The first words that come to mind when hearing this album are "WOW" and "OH MY GOD", this album has met the hype thats been surrounding its release for quite some time. This album is a lot heavier than previous releases and although it is heavier it still sticks with the traditional theme of powerful vocals and deep meaningful lyrics. There is a lot of melody to their heavy songs with the odd mellow part lurking in the corners under the heavy guitar tracks. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics are some of the most amazing that I've heard to date. Howard Jones has done an excellent job of continuing the legacy of Killswitch vocalwork laid down in 2000 but left midway through touring in 2002 after becoming depressed. These lyrics go with the instrumentals like bread and butter, they are so smooth and enjoyable and you don't need fancy bits to make them any better than they already are. Howard has such a pure voice and he is enjoyable to listen to even when he is screaming. Great skills all round. // 10

Overall Impression: It vaugely compares to their previous albums but being a heavier album it sort of slots into a different area of music but still a great album to listen to. My favourite songs from this album are "Starting Over" and "The Forgotten", there are amzing guitar melodies and truely sensational vocalwork by Howard. Theres not much wrong with the album apart from the fact that there really isn't a whole lot of music on the disc (lacking tracks), how ever the tracks that are on there are pretty damn good. I would go and buy this album again in a heart beat as I really enjoy this album. // 9

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overall: 10
Killswitch Engage (2009) Reviewed by: JPS2984, on july 03, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Killswitch Engage's 2009 album (Killswitch Engage 2009) really brings out the talent in the bands guitar, and percussion sound. I have to say, this has to be one of the best sounding albums that KsE has come out with. The reason I say that is that the guitar is a bit more complicated than the earlier albums, and the drums sound so much more original than they did before. They also added a little "Boom" to the album with how much bass there is compared to the two recent albums. I personally like the alive or just breathing album because of the bass boost it has in it. The Guitars have really stepped it up and put a little bit more time into the new album. The solo in the first track "Never Again" Is amazing! I have to admit, it would take time and alot of talent to make a solo like that. They also show alot of guitar talent in the songs "Take me Away", and "Save Me". The Vocals in KsE's 2009 album are ALOT better compared to Howard Jones' first two albums with Killswitch. It has perfect and complicated timing. For me I like the vocals in the following songs "The Reckoning" And "Save me" // 10

Lyrics: The lyrics and the singing style of the band have not changed alot. But thats not a bad thing at all. I've always liked how Killswitch make their songs lyrically. If anything, the band will always have their lyrics. Howard Jones' is a wonderful singer/songwriter. I would have to say that he is up among one of the best metalcore singers. He has amazing talent, and the way he sings is not very distinct, it is very different among all the other metalcore bands. // 10

Overall Impression: I really can not compare Killswitch Engage to any other metalcore/hard rock bands. They are so original and I can't really relate any band at all with them. Some of the most impressive songs on the album are "Never Again", "The Forgotten", "Take Me Away", and "The Reckoning". But Personally, I think everyone who likes KsE will love every single song on here. If I had to, I would totally buy it again, and I recommend listening to some of KsE's Earlier work before anyone listens to this, It really blows me away, and I am really impressed of how much they have improved. Keep up the good work KsE! // 10

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overall: 7
Killswitch Engage (2009) Reviewed by: Insanity 101, on july 07, 2009
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Sound: Personally, I have been a huge Killswitch Engage fan for quite some time now, I've heard everything they've had to offer, from Alive or Just Breathing through to As Daylight Dies, and the original name CD. But, in all honesty, I wont be soft on the CD simply because I'm a fan of them. This CD, as much as I hate to say it, is a downhill spiral compared to their past efforts. The CD itself is such a massive departure from their original sound, something about them just seems to be missing on this. Songs like "Starting Over" were an early hint to me that this album wouldn't be something I'd end up liking as much as their previous ones, and my fears were proven right. Granted, is it TERRIBLE? No, not at all, it isn't to the point where I don't listen to it at all, it's still a good CD, but is it them? No, once again, not at all. Some songs still contain some very interesting, awesome sounding riff's in them, for instance, "Take Me Away" has a VERY catchy start to it, but even in the guitar in the beginning, something about it just doesn't ring Killswitch Engage to me. It's a departure from their true sound, a departure that I think should never have been made. However, some songs do still manage to do it for me, like "Never Again", a song that gave me an idea when I first listened to the CD that maybe my fears were incorrect, maybe it wasn't the huge departure I was expecting. Unfortunately, the second it gets past that and cuts into "Starting Over", the change is evident. Despite the fact I had already heard "Starting Over" before I bought the CD, and I was expecting it, the songs that came after it still didn't manage to sway my original fears and beliefs. Adam and Joel still manage to lay down some pretty intense guitar parts, but at times it can just feel lacking, like something from their old stuff just isn't there. Justin's drumming is strong as ever though, if there is one thing I can say that seems to just be great all around. The opening to "I Would Do Anything" is just great, and its totally not an opening I was expecting from Killswitch drum wise. All in all, if your favorite Killswitch CD to date sound wise was Alive Or Just Breathing or The End Of Heartache, you'll be thoroughly disappointed with this offering. I honestly believe the disappointing change in sound is due to the entrance of Brendan O'Brie working the position of producer alongside Adam D. Not a welcome choice, in my opinion. Like I said, is the album a horrible piece of S**t not worth 5 seconds of your time except as a coaster? Nah, its still worth giving it a listen, but for old school Killswitch fans, or the more hardcore Killswitch fan, it will be a disappointment in some areas. Theirs no denying the obvious changes that are made here. // 6

Lyrics: Lyrically and vocally, the album still has a true Killswitch style to it, something that hasn't changed since Howard Jones entrance into the band. A lot of the songs ("Starting Over", anybody?) are obviously centered around relationships and the whole love thing. This was notable on a good amount of songs on As Daylight Dies, as was it noticeable on certain songs on The End Of Heartache. But, Howard manages to pull it off well without it just sounding horrible or cheesy. Vocally, his style and the way he sounds hasn't changed a bit, when hes singing he sounds just like he did on the past albums, when he screams, I can say the same. The only thing I noticed that I'm not incredibly fond of is the lack of Adam D's backing vocals...whats up with that? Maybe they are there and I just can't pick em' up but as far as I can tell, I didn't hear them. But Adam D or no Adam D, Howard carries it well on his own. His screams still contain the same power and sound that they did back during his Heartache days. A lot of the songs are still screamed with the exception of all choruses being sung, but it seems to me that a lot more singing is in the mix then on past albums. This, however, doesn't change the fact that when he is screaming, it sounds damn good. "Take Me Away" contains a style of singing that I can't recall Howard doing in any other song I've heard from them, and its a style that sounds pretty good. Lyrically and vocally Howard is still all there. In other words, he still sounds great. // 8

Overall Impression: Overall, the CD isn't horrible, but its a big change. It doesn't sound like The End Of Heartache or As Daylight Dies did, and for me its a bit of a disappointment. I was really hoping for an amazing, incredible CD from one of my favorite metal based bands that I listen to, and I was let down somewhat. As I said, is it incredibly bad? No, give it a listen and base your own opinion from your own experience with it, but I just don't think it compares to past efforts. I'll still listen to this from time to time, but I think I'll find myself popping in their older CD's more often then this, sadly. Next time, I think they would be better off with just Adam D at the helm of the producing job, sorry Brendan O'Brien (if their is a next time, which hopefully there is). // 7

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overall: 7.3
Killswitch Engage (2009) Reviewed by: blessthefate, on july 22, 2009
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Sound: I should start by saying this album is different, but also it has more of the same at the same time. Which is both good and bad. First song I heard was Reckoning, and after one listen I was hooked, say what you want, but that song is catchy, and heavy at the same time, which is why people most people listen to Killswitch to begin with. (and whats nice about that song is the lyrics change it up a little bit, singing about god isntead of heartbreak.) There were also a bucnha songs on the album that start and I immediately found myself bangin my head wit a smile on my face, the forgotten, never again, and starting over being some of them. The drums have switched up a little bit, taking a bit more of an eratic, crazy turn. They also just feel stronger. The big thing for killswitch has always been the guitars, but this album really showcases what Foley can do. But don't listen to anyone who says the guitar parts are toned down, the riffs, as always, are monsterous for a Drop C metalcore band, the leads are as catchy and cool as ever, and get this, theres a *gasp* guitar solo on the opening track, Never Again! Not counting holy diver, there hsant been a solo since Breathe Life, way back on The End of Heartache. Approach the instrumentals on this album with an open mind, and ull be pleased. // 8

Lyrics: Singing and lyrics are another thing though. Lets get this outta the way, yes Howard Jones has an amazing voice and a beastly scream. But it gets kinda frustuarting when you know whats coming. Screamed verses, catchy ballady sung chourses, repeat. But any Killswitch fan knows this has been there formula for years, and if it works, it works. The lyrics, I'm afraid to say are the same deal. Heartbreak, Heartbreak, "inspirational" song. You know the deal with Killswitch. Reckoning is a nice litte change up, as I said before. "No man can be a deity You are no God to me This is a reckoning You are nothing to me This is the reckoning" Might be about God, I've heard its about Obama, you make up your own mind about that. However, as I said before, this album is different, while being the same at the same time. Jones has really stepped up his singing, and its not AS repetitive as before. His screaming also has taken a bit of a change. It sounds more wild and raw, almost like he's doing it live on some tracks, espically Never Again, Save Me, and BIG time on Reckoning. At first I didn't like it so much, it kinda sounded almost weaker. But as you listen to it, trust me, it grows on you, and it doesn't sound weak at all, it sounds insane. But unfortunately, Mike D. doesn't have ne backing vocals on this, and that really sucks. His high pitched scream is absolutely ridicolous, just listen to When Darkness Falls or Reject Yourself to see what I mean. The singing has gotten better skillwise, but in terms of originality, its kind of lacking, espically the lyrics. // 6

Overall Impression: Like I said before, this album is different. I feel that there wasnt much of a change between The End Of Heartache and As Daylight Dies, but there is deffinately change here, and it isn't bad in anyway whatsoever. The screaming is great, and can be very ballsy, and the singing can be emotional and heartfelt (Which Is Not A Bad Thing) all in the same song, but than again, thats why people listen to Killswitch. The guitars and drums are great, guitars living up to their standard and drums going above and beyond. The only real bummer about this is the repetitive singing and lyrics, but that is the case with many bands in this metalcore genre. Even with this, Killswitch Engage is still the band you should go to if your looking for good metalcore. // 8

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overall: 7
Killswitch Engage (2009) Reviewed by: basskaibi, on november 06, 2009
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Sound: Killswitch Engage had a definitive sound going on. Here's the impression I had of the band: their profound use in angelic choruses/interludes and brutal/heavy metallic synchronization with some kind of melodic riff riding along. By synchronization, I'm referring to the beginning riffs of "Fixation on the Darkness," "My Last Serenade," and "Element of One" in Alive or Just Breathing, "A Bid Farewell" and the title song in The End of Heartache, or even "My Curse" and "This Fire Burns." Listening to this album I was thinking of the band along the lines of the tracks "Unbroken," "Rose of Sharyn," and "Let The Bridges Burn," and the chorus to "Hope Is..." In other words, I thought of the entire album as a load of B-sides they were saving for later. Not that I'm claiming that they are B-sides, but that's what it sounded like to me. I'm saying that this album showed that they had lost their original flavor in terms of melodic structure. It's just not the same anymore. Where are the angelic choruses? Where are the brutal, heavier riffs? For me, this was a disappointment. But there's no mistake that what Adam and Joel did with the guitars are still pretty good. Here you have less synchronization, as the drums and the guitars are now in separate realms. In this album, you'll experience a sonic fury of melodic velocity-powered dual-guitars in the minor key, and less brutal but more universal drumming. But the choruses felt like the songs I just mentioned earlier. Not dominant or central, just there. Anyway, this is Killswitch in a brand new light. It's less memorable, more agressive, and more thematic, and you're going to hear a lot of good phrasing in the guitars, and I'd bet a bunch of people will say "that's some beautiful guitar work." I give them exceptional credit for that. Not one song in the album is going to stand out from the other, and the entire album collectively is consistent. Which can sometimes be a bad thing when you think about repetitiveness and redundancy in a consistent album. // 7

Lyrics: Howard delivers in this album in his roaring technicality. But I think he needs to re-visit his melodic contouring; he might've been overdoing it. It's not like I preferred screaming, I just think that Howard hasn't laid a foundation for his singing style yet, and this album was basically that kind of a journey for him. I think he should've kept it nice and simple. Overall though, it just seemed like he was singing just because. For example, when he was singing the chorus to "Starting Over," it just wasn't as memorable or powerful or central as it should have been. It was just there. The chorus to "Light in a Darkened World" felt more central, but the delivery was not as powerful or convincing as the lyrics were. See where I'm getting at here? By the way, where did Adam D. go? If there was a "Wanted: Missing Adam D. Vocals" poster I'd post it smack dab on the album cover. Anyway, his singing was a kind of surprise element which made the songs back then more memorable than they were. As for the lyrics, we still have that Killswitch theme of good vs evil and relationships. The lyrics were powerful and sincere. Some of them felt like they were reused or rephrased. But the vocal technique is still there. // 7

Overall Impression: I TRIED listening to his album. It was difficult getting from the beginning to the end of a track. I did eventually, but it took a lot of force to do it. This album is a pack of gems, I'm not going to lie. You're going to get a lot of badassery everywhere in the album. But the songs were so consistent with coolness that it started to sound bland and mediocre. Some of the riffs even started to feel like they were redundant or recycled. And here's what I meant by "consistent with coolness." The thing that I loved about Killswitch's music was how it was structured for pushing and pulling the musical tension. I can go for pages about that, but not here. ;) In this album, I got none of that. Ultimately, I wasn't moved or inspired like I was by the previous albums. The good thing about the sound is that it's much more welcome to newer audiences. I know a bunch of kids now who know about Killswitch Engage because of their new stuff and it's cool and all. Still, it's tough to relate with them when it came to KSE because it was as if they were listening to another band. As if the Jesse/Howard vocal change was enough for doing that, right? Now I feel that there's yet another fine line that KSE crossed besides the Jesse/Howard change. Whether that's good or bad is just up to the listener. Personally, I'd prefer to get deaf over KSE's older stuff or even, dare I say it, BFMV's "Waking the Demon." // 7

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overall: 10
Killswitch Engage (2009) Reviewed by: lilderber, on january 22, 2010
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Sound: Killswitch Killswitch Killswitch what is there to say except another great album. Killswitch has definitely gone in a bit of a different direction in this album, but the purpose of this album was meant for just that and might I say that KSE pulls it off. The sound of the album is cleaner than their other albums, but this albums sound still has KSE sound with the duo of Joel and Adam (two of the best and underrated guitarists) pulling off some great riffs (and the one solo in never again, great solo, short and sweet) and Howard showing why he is one of the best if not the front man in metal today. // 10

Lyrics: Well to start off like I said the album is definitely cleaner than KSE's other albums, but that really does not matter at all because Howard can do it all. The lyrics in the album seem to tell a short story one song to the other and with Howard's amazing vocal range what can't he do, he can scream and yet come back with an incredible melodic singing voice. Howard writes amazing lyrics and really does an amazing job with his vocals (as usual). // 10

Overall Impression: KSE is one of the best if not the best metal bands out today and with the way they keep making albums that will not change on bit. Since they have started you could tell they were going to be big and this album sure keeps on showing KSE maturity as they grow as a band. This album is another amazing album by KSE, from the amazing guitar work of Adam and Joel to the phenomenal vocals of Howard this band just keeps producing one amazing album after the next. // 10

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More Killswitch Engage reviews rating latest review
+ Disarm The Descent 8.3 04/18/2013
+ Killswitch Engage 8.9 01/29/2010
+ Alive Or Just Breathing 9.2 03/03/2009
+ As Daylight Dies 9.1 03/02/2009
+ The End Of Heartache 9.2 07/26/2006
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