Sound — 10
I recently had the opportunity to sit down and listen to a full album run through of new Killswitch Engage album "Disarm The Descent" and thought I would share my opinion of it with UG. After releasing 2009's quite lacklustre self-titled album, KSE parted ways with singer Howard Jones (because of his struggle with controlling his diabetes amongst other things) and reunited themselves with original lead singer Jesse Leach. Fans of their debut album and masterpiece "Alive Or Just Breathing" were hungry for what could possibly be the next "AOJB" - an album which is revered by many as one of the most important in metalcore. While "Disarm The Descent" shares some similarity to AOJB in vocal stylings - Jesse has not lost any of the passion and soul in his lyrics or voice - technically, the new album showcases the improvement by each member through the Howard Jones-era and in particular the guitar riffs are far superior to "AOJB" and "KSE II". Added to this the fact that the album was produced by Adam D and not Brendan O'Brien you get a chunkier sounding album than the flat sound of "KSE II" - reminiscent of "The End Of Heartache".
Lyrics — 9
Jesse Leach has always been one of my favourite lyricists - particularly because of the way he sings, he leaves it all out there and puts absolutely everything into every word he sings. While some of the lyrics are quite cliched the majority of songs are uplifting and positive with a message of hope and determination. Jesse tells a story with pretty much every song and you believe every word he sings/screams across the 12 tracks. Apart from a few obvious moments of autotune which has not been mixed as well as hoped, Jesse's voice is as powerful and intense as it was 10 years ago on "AOJB". When he emits his trademark guttural scream on tracks like "All That We Have" I find it pretty much impossible not to jump around like a lunatic.
Overall Impression — 10
If you compare the album to "Alive Or Just Breathing" or "The End Of Heartache" I don't think it's quite as good. That said, "Disarm The Descent" is not just a return to form for a newly invigorated Killswitch Engage - it is a return to the passion and raw angst of 2003 mixed with the past ten years of struggles, lessons learned and should hopefully stand the test of time as one of their best. Favourite tracks of mine are "No End In Sight", "All That We Have", "The Turning Point" and "In Due Time". The few moments of autotune that are clearly noticeable are quite cringe-worthy but it's forgiven for being such a good album. I am excited for the future of KSE now they have reaffirmed their faith in the music and seem to certainly have enjoyed making this excellent LP.