Sound — 9
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.
Lyrics — 9
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.
Overall Impression — 10
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!