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Killswitch re-Engage and Disarm with a somewhat hit & miss return
on 5 April 2013
Killswitch Engage have always been at the top of the modern Metalcore explosion, releasing a series of intelligent sounding albums with a gradual decline in quality of the years, somewhat stagnating with the self titled release in 2009.
Now they are back, back with the original vocalist and a punchier heavier direction, but is this what was anticipated by the masses?!
Killswitch Engage have been through a few distinct changes in the past, most notably when original band vocalist Jesse Leach quit the band shortly after releasing their Roadrunner Records mainstream breakthrough album 'Alive or Just Breathing'. Arguably one of the best metalcore albums ever realeased. He was subsequently replaced by Howard Jones, who on 'The End of Heartache' proved he could more than stand up to the former glory, although not as fantastic an album as 'Alive or Just Breathing', it only fell short by a small margin. From there Killswitch engage began to refine a sound with a more commercial, dare I say radio friendly Metalcore edge "My Curse" etc. and so the gradual decline began.
So as the band hit stagnation with the self titled album, it seemed as though the years were softening the band to a degree.
Fast forward to 2013 and Jesse Leach has returned to frontline, Andy Sneap has mixed the album and all the pre-emptive tick boxes for something incredible or triumphant are ready...But this album, 'Disarm The Descent' doesn't quite hit the mark, as great as it is to have Jesse back, the improvement in the level of aggression and a thicker production can't mask the fact that most of the album sticks to their winning formula, never breaking into any unexpected territory anywhere near as good as the 'Numbered Days' punches to the stomach inducing introduction (Still one of the best album openers). Or even the brilliance of 'Life to Lifeless' or 'Rose of Sharyn'.
I can't help the comparisons here. I had much anticipation for this, only to be knocked off my feet. I still enjoy the album and it is a great metalcore record, solid, it would be amazing if any other imitating bands attempted this.
Jesse's growl now has more in common with that of the 'Every Time I Die Frontman' in that it's much higher picthed, almost gone is that deep low end chugging into the pounding aggression found on the very first 'Self Titled' album and 'Alive'. Jesse's singing voice has dramatically improved, it sounds awesome. It's even developed from that displayed on the 'Times of Grace' album...
...Which brings me onto 'Times of Grace'. Although a side project, comparisons are inevitable, I feel the 'Times of Grace' album is far superior to this one, the melody and interplay of the work on show has a better feel for the listener. Songs seem to have something a little different about them, unexpected on first listen. Which is where Disarm the Descent falls down, almost all of the tracks are great, but don't push much beyond just being great. The expectation was for some kind of beast to explode from the speakers and show that modern Metalcore isn't always trapped in the 'heard this all before' area it seems to be becoming of late.