Sound — 10
When I first listened to alive or just breathing I didn't know what to expect. I had already owned the end of heartache CD, and, in my mind, nothing could have been better. This CD proved me wrong. This was Killswitch's second released CD, and their first CD through Roadrunner Records. The overall sound quality of the album was absolutley amazing, and the musicianship is top notch for todays average metal band. Adam D. and Joel (the guitarists) just put on show, with crushing riffs, breakdowns, and melodic harmonies that could make the pope cry. After listening to this album many times I also got the feeling that these guys didn't want to be labeled to any genre. The diversity in their sound is so extreme that I don't think its possible to define their sound as hardcore, heavy metal, grindcore, rock 'n' roll, death metal, etc. Because quite frankly their sound has roots from each of those styles, and probably many more. oh and heres some fun facts, Adam D (guitar player/back up vox) he also played drums on this album, because at the time they didnt have a drummer, and Jesse Leach had recorded his vocals in the comfort of his own bedroom.
Lyrics — 10
Jesse Leach. There's not much else to say. His transition from screaming to singing is absolutely amazing, and his voice compliments his lyrics so well, you can actually feel the emotion he put into each and every song. The lyrics alone are amazing. Like some people have said, Jesse is all about sending a positive message. In the song 'Rise Inside' the opening lines read "Rise inside, free your mind. Raise your first to signify, we stand in defiance of hatred and deception. If I stand alone I will fight for you." Killswitch Engage said it themselves on their DVD. Alive or Just Breathing is the way it is, because of Jesse Leach.
Overall Impression — 10
01. Numbered Days - the intro basically punches you in the face and then calms down for 20 seconds, and then boom! Back to punching you in the face. The singing in this song is soo perfectly combined with the riffing, and the drums, and it just forms this huge sound. This all is a build up to a point in the song and 2:32. At this moment in the song I think it pretty much somes up the sound killswitch is going for. Its like a breakdown, with beautiful lead guitar over top of it..
02. Self Revolution - this is one of my favorite songs on the album, as a guitar player, I was immediatly hooked with the opening riffs. And then about 50 seonds in the guitarists are doing this crushing riffs, and jesse is singing in his beautiful voice, and it combines this totally different sound. I give this song a 9/10 because if your ask me its a little short.
03. Fixation On The Darkness - that's what describes this song. To this day I still cant stop head banging when I here this song. It's such a groovy heavy song. Jesse's singing on this song is all over the place, hes screaming, then hes doing this like half screaming and half singing thing, and then just full out singing, and it's perfect, perfect I say.
04. My Last Serenade - if you consider yourself a killswitch engage fan, then you have already heard this song. If you consider yourself a fan, but you havent heard this song, then your already dead to me. It's another short song, and its basic in structure, but it seems to me that every instrument compliments one another so perfectly that you cant help but love this song.
05. Life To Lifeless - another pretty basic song, but when it hits the chorus everything seems to come together. It's like a kick of melodicness to the nuts. Beautiful chorus, but I consider this the most boring killswitch engage song, I like it, but it's not my favorite.
06. Just Barely Breathing - it opens with a soft dark intro, which seems like it belongs in a horror movie or something, but then it steps into a farely heavy riff, where the drums are bringing out the guitars very well. It coninues to get heavier, and faster, and then ka-f--kin'-boom. The chorus. Possibley the most emotional and driven chorus on the album. You can feel the honesty and pain in Jesse's voice. Overall I consider this song a piece of art.
07. To The Sons Of Man - this is possibley the most hardcore song on the album, it is fast and it is powerfull. The riff at around 1:00 is so heavy, but they add that melodic sense back in, and what you know, it turns into another Killswitch Engage ballad. Yet it's only 1:57 long.
08. Temple From Within - this song was re-released on this album. It was originaly from their self-titled debut CD. It has some of the most uplifting guitar riffs on the album. If your an emotional wreck put this song on. It's like an angry build up to the chorus which takes your on a whole new journey. It's like your in the middle of a fist fight, and then the chorus hit, you shake hands and walk away a better person.
09. The Element Of One - possibly the most melodic song on the album. Jesse basically takes control of you through voice and lyrics. "Breathe me in, I am forever". This song seems so powerful and moving, that it almost brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it (to bad I'm anti-emo and had my tear ducts removed).
10. Vide Infra - another song re-release, and it's heavy! At 2:10 it's beautiful. The drums drive this song, and make it what it is. It's another piece of art. Listen to the doubles, feel the doubles, it's badass.
11. Without A Name - a really beautifull acoustic interlude. If you ask me, his interlude defines Killswitch Engage. I don't know how, I don't know why, but it does.
12. Rise Inside - Mike D introduces us with the low tones on the bass, and then boom. Killswitch engage close out the cd with the perfect song. Such a positive message conveyed through heavy music. Only Killswitch Engage can pull this off.