The Hymn Of A Broken Man review by Times Of Grace

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  • Released: Jan 18, 2011
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (95 votes)
Times Of Grace: The Hymn Of A Broken Man

Sound — 8
Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz has always been at the forefront of metalcore, and although he's not entirely breaking ground with his new project Times of Grace, he still proves his strength lies in hard-hitting riffs, complimented by inspiring melodies and slick production. On this record, however, he's also providing bass and drum duties, showcasing his multi-instrumental skills. His drumming shines on songs like "Live In Love" and "Hope Remains", while "Fight For Life" shows his combination of darkness and melody that always shines through. In addition, Adam shows that he's not afraid to throw in a solo here and there, such as on the record's lead single "Strength In Numbers". One thing Killswitch Engage has had that I've always enjoyed are their clean guitar passages, and they play a vital part in shaping the mood for the listener. "Until The End Of Days" boasts an awesome clean intro, while "In The Arms Of Mercy", an instrumental interlude, provides an almost atmospheric tone throughout the song and proves to be one of the most beautiful pieces of music Adam has written in his career thus far. Aside from "In The Arms Of Mercy", the song that really stood out for me musically on this album though was "The Forgotten One", which is all acoustic, mixing country with some flamenco and melodic passages. One thing I did notice though was that the intro of "Where The Spirit Leads Me" sounded a lot like As I Lay Dying's "Forsaken", ironically produced by Adam in the past. No matter, though; for the most part, the record shows Adam's versatility as a musician, and really speaks of his talent.

Lyrics — 9
Along with Adam Dutkiewicz for the ride is ex-Killswitch Engage singer Jesse Leach, who brings back a sense of optimism that music has been lacking for a while now. You wouldn't be able to tell with most of his vocal delivery, though. At some points on the record, Jesse sounds downright visceral in songs like "Live In Love", despite his optimistic lyrics ("Through all this condescend compassion for weakness, it takes so much more strength to be selfless and live in love."). Towards the end of "The End Of Eternity", Jesse takes on some death metal style vocals. When he's not sounding carnal, his clean vocals are uplifting and tinged with emotion. His voice sounds vulnerable yet strong on "The Forgotten One" ("Words slowly lead me to the cracks in my disguise, my flesh a prison for the man behind these eyes. I sing the epitaph for an unnamed king, carved in this tombstone of the lost pieces of me."), and the chorus of "Fight For Life" is one of his best deliveries to date. It's not just Jesse singing though; Adam shows that he's got some pipes on him as well, whether it's songs like "Fall From Grace" or the chorus of "Hope Remains". It once again proves the versatility Adam possesses with his musicianship. My favorite song in terms of vocals and lyrics, though, is the closer "Fall From Grace". The song is mostly sung by Adam, and the verses tell the story of a man who has lost his will to live ("At the end of your road, hanging by a thread, he'd give and he'd think for this to just go away. The scribbles on the soul thrown, I tried to hold on tightly, but it's all slipping through my fingers."). However, once the chorus comes, the subject in question turns it around on the listener and proclaims his will to live just like that ("Even through this pain, I will feel again. Even through these tears, I will love again."), with only a soulful vocal delivery guiding him through the journey.

Overall Impression — 8
Now I admit, I am a Killswitch fan, so I am aware of possible bias in grading this album. However, even if I weren't a fan, I would still have to go out on a limb and say this is an early contender for album of the year. From the heavy "The End Of Eternity" to the battle cry of "Strength In Numbers" to the intimate "The Forgotten One" and "In The Arms Of Mercy", Times of Grace have a little something for everybody. You can try and write off Times of Grace's debut as another Killswitch Engage copy, but that's where you'd be wrong. It's the album that Killswitch should have put out in 2009, it's the album that is uplifting and inspiring in every sense of the word, and it's the ultimate triumph of two former bandmates that have persevered through the toughest of trials to put out their emotions for the world to see. And for that, they should be commended.

31 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Though there are some sad songs on this album, the whole record is very uplifting. That is surprising from a metalcore album, I have never experienced anything like this. I like it, thank you Adam and Jesse
    Great album. Picked it up last night and I've listened to it 3 times already.
    EpiExplorer wrote: Is it me or do the vocals sound the slightest bit auto-tuned...
    Every band does that. There is always a autotuner on to the slightest degree to get that upmost perfection. If they don't... you sure can tell...
    man i love this album, the power of the vocals really hit you, whether it's from the heavier songs or the less heavy ones, this album just completely amazes me. adam d has to be one of the best musicians in all of music, i mean, he basically just made the album of the year all by himself. and jesse just adds to the awesomeness of this album. definitely has my vote for album of the year.
    This is the best new band I've heard in a long. I almost like it better than KsE but 'My Curse' and 'Starting Over' keep them on top for me. Killswitch doesn't have the diversity that Times of Grace does. The Forgotten One is almost a blues ballad and In the Arms of Mercy is the most emotional instrumental I've ever heard. I hope they stick with this.
    Nobody mentioning Adam's leads? He put out better than I though he was capable of, simply judging by KSE.
    jetfuel495 m : I enjoyed it. It's like what kse would sound like now if Jesse stuck around. POSTED: 01/21/2011 - 03:56 pm / quote | wrote: exactly what i was going to write. what a great album. this album is a statement to how good kse woulda been if jesse would have stayed. although howard was good, their albums started to sound the same. jesse leach has always been one of my favorite vocalists, hes outstanding on this album I enjoyed it. It's like what kse would sound like now if Jesse stuck around.
    EpiExplorer wrote: Is it me or do the vocals sound the slightest bit auto-tuned...
    Got the same vibe, could just be a real crappy chorus effect slapped on it though
    I don't know why, but this album hit me like a train. I just got really into it, and it's probably one of my top favorites right now. It's nothing extraordinary either. But I just fell in love with it.
    Fantastic album. It's nice to hear Adam and Jesse's work again, even if I would have liked it to have been a bit heavier.
    EpiExplorer wrote: Is it me or do the vocals sound the slightest bit auto-tuned...
    Nice to see I wasn't the only one who thought that. It's definitely noticable on songs like "Fall From Grace", but I doubt Adam would intentionally use Autotune. Probably just a weird studio effect, like rob904 said.
    It's pretty hard to get away from that Killswitch sound, and while its mostly still there, I commend these guys for at least making it soulful and powerful.
    This album is probably the best thing Adam has ever been invloved with. I bet KSE guys are a little annoyed he kinda took an otherwise excellent KSE album and ran with it....
    I pre-ordered this to get a signed booklet with dog-tags and picks as well. It's well worth it even without those trinkets though. This album sets the bar high for 2011.
    This album is F@#king awesome, never knew Adam and Jesse had such awesome voices, i love the vocals and the guitar on until the end of days and hymn of a broken man, but i have to say the whole album is brilliant, a masterpiece, Adam d is truly a genius and deserves a lot of credit, Jesse you are true inspiration bro \M/
    there's definitely autotune in this album, but it's used in a very profound artistic matter when it's obvious to hear, like in Fall From Grace. props to Adam D for being able to do that.
    Dude I think Times of grace could be my favorite band in the future, but they still have a little way to go to beat As I Lay Dying!
    Ibanez706 wrote: If perfect was it is.
    I was thinking the same thing. A lot of albums have a some songs that seem to be there just to take up space and you only listen to them a couple of times. This album I listen from beginning to end loving every single song. Not one song on here can be considered a filler.
    matt-attack wrote: This album sets the bar high for 2011.
    I totally agree! "The Hymn of a Broken Man" is absolutely amazing! I can't stop listening this album since January, 18th.
    this album delivers. i had almost impossibly high hopes for this album, and it blew me away. i'm not a kse fanboy in any sense of the word. 10/10
    I'mmaBaseball wrote: EpiExplorer wrote: Is it me or do the vocals sound the slightest bit auto-tuned... Nice to see I wasn't the only one who thought that. It's definitely noticable on songs like "Fall From Grace", but I doubt Adam would intentionally use Autotune. Probably just a weird studio effect, like rob904 said.
    Why not? Adam is a decidedly 'modern' producer, and though I'm not gonna touch what I think of KSE's music, I will say that I find that kind of sound sterile for metal. Auto tune is used by lots of 'credible' artists, and I have a feeling he cares more about the final product. Anyways, I should have paid attention to this band, because I was expecting them to be influenced by the Neurosis album of the same name.
    Auto tune can be used very discreetly so i wouldnt doubt it.
    EpiExplorer wrote: Is it me or do the vocals sound the slightest bit auto-tuned...
    i love this album, it actually sounds like adam put some thought in it. unlike the last killswitch album.