Sound — 8
"Alive Or Just Breathing," the Roadrunner debut that marked them as one of the greatest of the new wave of metal, and they damn well are! I think Killswitch Engage appeals to so many people just because they take the heaviness of metal, fuse it with some old school fast riffs, add in those stop and go riffs, and top it all off with some powerful screaming, as well as some beautiful singing. Like many, I first got into this band with the song "My Last Serenade." Having already bought "The End Of Heartache" album (a great album btw), I was expecting more of the same. At the time I purchased this album, I was confused as hell as to why this singer was white, and the singer from "The End Of Heartache" was black. Haha, well, thats when I learned the whole "Jesse leaving, Howard stepping in," but I won't get into that. Anyways, the music from this album is just amazing. From loud riffs to calm melodies, this band (along with As I Lay Dying), was one of the pioneers of the singing fused with screaming. And although I think metalcore (now) is so overplayed and almost dead, I do respect Killswitch Engage very much.
Lyrics — 9
Beautiful, just beautiful. Jesses' lyrics are just amazing, although I think his use of analogies and overall views of life were more forward in their self-titled album (also a great album), this album does a great job as well, and continues to express his views on life. Seen on songs like "Rise Inside" and "Vide Infra," lyrics such as "Time has come to, make a difference, why have we forsaken love?" basically say that "Hey, we're all dirty ignorant bastards, and unless we get our act together, we'll eventually f--k ourselves over." Which I believe, is very true, and thats probably why I appreciate his lyrics so much. Lighter sides of his lyrics can be seen on "My Last Serenade" and "The Element Of One," both very beautiful, calm, yet very heavy songs.
Overall Impression — 9
I hate being categorized in just one genre of music. I love all kinds, but yes, I am mostly a fan of old thrash metal (Metallica, Testament, Megadeth, etc) but I have lately been into this "new wave" or whatever you wanna call it (bands like Lamb Of God, Unearth, Shadows Fall, etc). Basically, if you like metal, and aren't very close minded (those who worship bands that only scream and will never smile), hell, you'll probably still like this album. Get this album, it's loud, it's heavy, yet it's beautiful, like Randy Blythe said, "Beautiful music for ugly people, made by ugly people."