16 August 2019
Happiest Ive been listening to a new cd since Times Of Grace
For me this is KsE absolutely nailing it
MY ATONEMENT REVIEW (8.5/10). Its pretty long. Skip down to 'REVIEW:' if you dont want the personal stuff.
KsE divide opinion alot. So, the start of this review explains how i feel about KsE, my history with them and the resulting bias :), to give you an idea if my review is for you
KsE brought me back to metal, after the melodyless 90's, the moment I heard Last Serenade. Alive Or Just Breathing just had everything Id ever wanted from a metal record (grew up on Priest, Number of the Beast, Accept, Ride The Lightning, Pyromania etc), and were the band that made Screamo ok for my blinkered brain.
So to say I have alot of affection for this band is a huge understatement.
Without them I may never have fallen in love with Opeth and Nightwish ... A life without Ghost Love Score or Bleak
Plus they saved me from Radiohead's experimentation. The Bends is still in my fave 5 albums of all time.
KsE will always be my metal pinnacle ... iTunes says ive listened to Reject Yourself 600 times, and of my itunes top 25 played songs, 13 are KsE/ToG
Fave KsE/ToG tracks as of 2019: This Fire Burns, Temple From the Within, Cut me Loose, Fall From Grace, Tribute to the fallen, End Of Eternity
Being a Melody guy, I never liked the 2nd half of Heartache, Love love love Howard but if had to choose would take Jesse for the soul of his voice, thought ToG was 10/10, Incarnate 8/10, Disarm 7/10, KSE 2009 5/10 - last few tracks corkers tho, Daylight 9/10, Heartache 7/10, AOJB 9.5/10, KSE 8/10
Can never get out of my head that Adam wrote the whole of Times Of Grace in his head, in a hospital bed in England (my country). Surely thats the kind of thing living legends do? Had a ticket for that postponed tour. First KsE gig was just after Howard joined (Rock City Nottingham) so I still have never seen Jesse Live. I refuse to go to a maiden show after I fell asleep in one once (only like beast album) and life circumstances mean I probably wont be able to see them live again, so a new album is a huge deal for me.
So for the review - my summary would be that 40 listens in, im very very happy. It feels like an album theyve spent more time on. Im writting all this because I cant believe a negative review i have seen. It states 5/10 and last 2 albums have been duds, which is the complete opposite to my opinion. Theres more interesting things going on in drums and riffs and melodies that we havent had since ToG. It sounds nicely recorded (mixed by Andy Sneap), its varied, its for me more unpredictable. Its not what i was expecting at all, in a good way. I genuinely felt like a big epic surprise (like the Life to Lifeless intro) could come along at any moment. Well maybe that didnt happen, but its enough to know that KsE are trying harder to be interesting to listen to. I remember Adam saying that he programs the drums first and then the recording session is the real drummer just copying the computer. Last few albums ive kinda felt like they could have just left the drum machine version in and it wouldnt have sounded any different. Not this time. It sounds a bit more organic. Jesse has more nuances to his voice. Personally I cant get enough of Jesse's voice, and I feel like more choruses hit the mark than say 'Quiet Distress' did. It feels like Jesses voice is maturing to a point his ability is improving songs more than they used to. He sings in many different styles, from bluesy to spitting screams delivered in infectious chant. That reviewer also said 'none of the choruses land' .... im literally gobsmaked by that comment. I can only think he listens to alot more different metal than me. I do keep my ear to the ground tho, Rivers Of Nihil was my fave record last year.
I dont consider lyrics until I have fully taken in the music, so in a month or so.
Unleashed - Fairly standard KsE opener, which I really like, a very high quality example of this song style, but nothing new. If you are a fan of Adams soulful vocals, theres a beautiful example of that towards the end
The Signal Fire - First listen was hairs standing up, as I realised an old side of Killswitch we havent heard in a while is back. The fast n dirty sludgy riff, that compliments the harsh vocals perfectly in the verse, to a 8/10 chorus melody, that grows every time I hear it. Made me realise that I love both Howard and Jesse so much. They are both bang on form here
Us Against the World - Not that disimilar to the mellower Times Of Grace tunes. The backing vocals are very ToG. Like many ToG songs, there is a stunningly beautiful mellow section midsong. Could be a marmite chorus, but for me, it lands
The Crownless King - This is a BANGER -Jesse starts this thrashfest before i assume he hands over to Chuck Billy, who has an awesome growl ... very dark and atmospheric, going from low to mid grunts within a phrase. This is the kind of tune Id almost forgotten Killswitch could do ... its got groove
I Am Broken Too - I like the build in this song, the main melody is not quite up there with Always or Cut Me Loose, but again there is a beautiful mid-section which makes up for this
As Sure as the Sun Will Rise - My favorite chorus melody on the record so far, tempo builds to great affect. OMG that mid-section again. Killswitch are interesting to listen to again. A good example of the variety of song styles on this album, compared to say Disarm, which had 2 song styles
Know Your Enemy - Another groove tune, so groove over melody, it works. Midsection this time is a lovely guitar and bass only (no rhythm guitar) solo, again making it interesting to listen to ... great drums at the end ... Jesse is on fire here
Take Control - Bluesy tune. Kinda ToG. First half of the chorus is really nice. Cracking guitar solo.
Ravenous - First half of this song is fairly standard fair, but turns into a blistering chugfest half way through, I think my least fave, but its another example of the variety of song styles
I Cant Be The Only One - KsE at their most melodic/commercial .... for me Jesse nails it ..... his vocal just before the temp change had me welling up .... yes im a snowflake lol, thats all it takes .... the soul and nuances of his voice make it a pleasure to listen to
Bite the Hand That Feeds - Like the opener, the closer is more traditional KsE, but again there just seem to be more layers to the songs on this album, the drums are great, and a great outro
To sum up, Im gonna give Atonement 8.5/10. For me KsE are going in the right direction and getting better and better. This album sounds good, has variety, many many beautiful moments, quite a few face melting moments
As someone who LOVES KsE to their very metalcore, I am very happy with Atonement
Sorry to bang on, KsE are important to me, they make my life better, and in Atonement they have continued to do so, much more than I was expecting. Atonement was a nice surprise for me