Killswitch Engage are a melodic Metalcore band from Massachusettes, and Disarm The Descent is their fifth full-length studio album (sixth, if you count the band's half-hour self-titled debut effort from 2000).
It was released in 2013, following-up 2009's self-titled record. It was produced by the band's guitarist, backing vocalist and former drummer Adam Dutkiewicz and mixed by Andy Sneap. Like most of the band's releases, the artwork was handled by bassist Mike D'Antonio.
After three albums with Howard Jones in the lead vocal position, Disarm The Descent sees the return of the band's original singer Jesse Leech, who had last held that position on 2002's Alive Or Just Breathing album, (although he had periodically turned up in guest appearances, live shows and side projects in the intervening years)
The album opens up with blasts and angular Swedish sounding music, like some of the band's earliest work, but soon returns to the sound that you'd expect from the band at this stage in their career. They are one of the genre's pioneers and over their career have developed an easily identifiable signature sound, that makes a welcome return, however the band seem to have attempted to bring back a bit of the bite and edge of their early days to avoid sounding too polished and smoothed-down.
The album runs a lot of the same course that the band have covered before. Throughout the record, there are triumphant sounding lead guitar lines, flashy solos, crunchy breakdowns and a mixture of precision riffing with uplifting melodic moments. There's the fast, spidery touches and hammering double kicks on `New Awakening,' there's a slower moody moment with `Always' and there's the aforementioned blasts and Gothenburg influences on tracks like `The Hell In Me' and `All That We Have.'
The lead single `In Due Time' is a good taster of the album as a whole. Most of the elements that the album covers are present to some degree or other within its duration and it gives you a good measure of what the band and Jesse sound like at this moment in time, which in a word would be "revitalized."
One area in which the album really shines is in the lead guitar work. Its seems like an extra special effort has gone into making impressive sounding guitar solos, and making them in large numbers. The vocals are also noteworthy. Extra care and attention has been put into the layering and combination of differing varieties of screams, shrieks, growls, shouts and singing.
While the record still sounds unmistakably like Killswitch Engage, most of the music on the album is in the higher end of the tempo range that the band work in. Its main mode is `fast,' and this combined with the studious approaches to lead guitar and vocal layering give the album its unique selling point among the rest of the band's catalougue.
Album highlights include `A Tribute To The Fallen,' `No End In Sight' and `Time Will Not Remain.'
Overall; If you want a collection of brief, punchy, Melodic Metalcore songs then you could do worse in 2013 than checking out Disarm The Descent. Its consistent, it sounds great and it delivers exactly what you want from the band with a slight twist and the right kind of energy.
on 9 June 2013
I think I know what you're thinking. I'd think it too. You probably think I am some hyper fan that is punting the album due to the presence of a strong bias in favour of the band. I won't deny that I am a fan and that I have listened to all of their albums and even Jesse's Times of Grace album. We all have subjective predilections and dispositions but like good Supreme Court judges we should be aware of our personal biases and try to factor these biases into (mostly out of) our judgments. On that note, I do think this is one of their best albums. The lyrics are inspirational and the music is, as always, technical and captivating. Sure it sounds like other Killswitch Engage albums, in the same way that Picasso paintings share similarities. You buy a bands' album because you like their style and you want to see what variations and branches they have added to their basic style and this album takes you on an eventful and exciting exploration. I am most amazed by Jesse's voice in this album. So much depth and variety! Thats what impresses me, but who is to say that you won't be entranced by something different? Go buy the album and enjoy the journey!
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.
on 15 September 2013
Disarm the Descent, in my opinion, is the best album Killswitch Engage have done since their 2004 album The End of Heartache, I think it's so much better than 2006's As Daylight Dies and the second self-titled album from 2009 which I felt were too soft musicwise. This album marks a welcome return of original vocalist Jesse Leach who previously provided vocals for the band's first two albums Killswitch Engage (2000) and Alive or Just Breathing (2002), and was replaced by Howard Jones for the next three albums they did before Jones left in 2012. Parts of Disarm the Descent remind me very much of their 2002 album Alive or Just Breathing which is equally good, especially A Tribute to the Fallen in which the outro on that song reminds me of the outro on Just Barely Breathing from AoJB. For me, the best tracks on Disarm the Descent are Beyond the Flames, The New Awakening, In Due Time, A Tribute to the Fallen, All We Have, Always, and Blood Stains (one of the bonus tracks on the special edition of this album), although to be fair the other tracks are pretty good as well but the ones I mentioned are my favourites.
Overall, this is a very good album in that Killswitch Engage returned to their musical roots and the album is packed with plenty of good songs. The songs they did with Jesse Leach as vocalist (including those in this album) were about unity and positivity, whereas the songs they did when Howard Jones was in the band were mostly about heartaches and relationships. Very highly recommended, along with Killswitch Engage (the first self-titled album from 2000, not the second self-titled one from 2009 which I thought was rubbish), Alive or Just Breathing (2002) and The End of Heartache (2004).
on 28 April 2013
Nearly 10 years ago..
Massachusetts' finest metal-core band, Killswitch Engage departed with vocalist Jesse Leach (due to personal reasons that still remain sketchy), replaced him with Howard Jones and found mainstream success with three albums spanning 9 years. The End of Heartache was an instant hit with fans and newcomers, Daylight Dies a technical, riff frenzy, full of classics, but 2009's second self titled release was a complete let down to many. The whole band had become stale, thanks to dreary lovelorn lyrics wearing increasingly thin, sitting atop downbeat melodies and song structures. It goes without saying that KsE owe Howard Jones a great deal for their current standing in rock culture, however, will the return of Jesse Leach, the man who laid the foundations with the bands most influential album to date (Alive or Just Breathing) save a seemingly sinking ship?
Dual brutal screams..
introduce 'Disarm the Discent' and its wonderfully clear that the band have a new lease of life, heavier and better than before. Leach decides to show his versatility - after the screams - debuting a jazzy, rich vocal he found with past side project 'Seemless'. Such sweet singing is snatched away with a real tongue out scream from the belly. "Protect me, from the hell that burns inside me. No one can see, this is the hell in me" provides a brilliant chorus thanks to long held epic guitar notes and some double bass drum picking up momentum. Cue a very short interlude that erupts back into the same line. Track 1 down and the second is equally intense. "Step back to see the vision - seduction of our minds." I can't help but reference every single lyric enough to emphasize how happy I am at this mans reunion with a long loved band. "Her dark embrace will suffocate - choking my senses! There is a fire within her eyes - blinding my senses! Now I am searching - Forwards beyond the flames". The guitars from Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel jump all over the shop in spectacular precise fashion.
3rd on the playlist and 3rd to be revealed..
is 'The New Awakening' a snarling shouty beast of a song. Super fast guitar mashing and piston like percussion give this one so much bite it stings the ears. The main message of the song being one of clarity and change with lines like "I'd would rather burn out, than fade away!" and "There is more to life than this! - We are more than just this flesh! - We are alive and our time has come, for a new awakening". Then something astonishing happens. Possibly the bands first ever chant - one that will no doubt encourage all to sing back "I-Will-Not-Live-In-Fear" as a medeval like melody gets pushed past by a cavalry charge guitar solo. Already a fan favourite. The first single to be officially released - 'In Due Time' - is a fitting tribute to the return of the reenergised frontman. "How much more can I give of myself - as these walls, close in on me?" An ode to past troubles and a delightful chorus building up the future - "All in due time. See the world through different eyes". Another top notch solo is becoming a welcome standard now.
'A Tribute to the Fallen'..
seems in hommage for Howard Jones.. "You cannot break this love with hate" - dispels that possibility. Its at this time one makes comparisons with Adam.D and Jesse's last outing in side project 'Times of Grace' as the two team up for a sound more suiting to 'Hymn of a Broken Man'. A long, drawn out exit sounds like a church organ dirge, appropriate for the title. 'Turning Point' is full of anger from the first note, as the ever persistant drumming creates an almighty rhythm. "Find the strength to maintain - give me a reason to believe. Search for truth that will not change" is yet more proof that Leach's lyrics are more genuine and meaningful than Jones', tenfold. It's by this time however, the melodies start to die down a bit for raw power metal and speed. 'All We Have' seems in the same vain as 'Life to Lifeless' with little in the way of positivity, only far more speedy. "Forgiveness is all we have, nothing else will give you a piece of mind" is easily the best of this one, floating over a frantic sweeping guitar.
'You Don't Bleed For Me'..
sounds similar to Leach's second side project 'The Empire Shall Fall's 'These Colours Bleed'. It's only a title that these share though as this albums is less busy pushy a catchy riff and instead hellbent of sending that powerful message. It's not known who or what Leach is referring to here but "It's clear to me know, you're not what you claim, you don't speak for me. There is no mistake, it's written on your face, you don't bleed for me" - could be about anything from politics to past relationships. 'The Call' doesn't throw its punches with a rhythm that won't be stopped. "Release your inhibitions and answer to the call" is the sirens call in a mess of technical accuracy perceived as utter randomness. "Leave behind this shell of flesh and bone, in the end we will answer to the call."
"The burning question remains, how much is too much to give? Do your wings have the strength to carry on? When we see redemption how long will we wait for deliverance? It takes everything to keep from falling now. Let go." If there's one thing that can introduce someone to KsE, it's the lyrics, proof that heavy metal is not just a bunch of screaming with no substance. 'No End In Sight' - the first song to be revealed (Leaked) was a pleasant reminder of what this band is capable of at full strength. It's a pulsing, righteous rant "Through the suffering we fight/Until we see the light - there's no end in sight". The sound is pure evil as are the harmonised growls. 'Always' looks and sounds like a song off of the 2009 album - slow, predictable, mourning, depression wrapped into an unsatisfying song. Truth be told, the album did need a break from the intensity and that is what 'Always' does. Also not out of place on a ToG album, it slowly trudges through verses and chorus', until Adam.D throws some sweet vocals into the ring with "I am with you always, from the darkness of night/from life until death takes me..." over a light, chugging, clean guitar... nice change.
All that peace is washed away..
in a second of the blistering pace of 'Time Will Not Remain'. Being the band that they are, they couldn't possibly end with a shmoltzy loved up track... at least, not anymore. "These are the days, our lives will change and time will not remain" is wondrous songwriting on a grand scale thanks to all musicians doing their part albeit for only 3 minutes. Its a good way to go out with bang, fast and hard. Proper sexual. In total honesty, this album took time to grow on me, perhaps due to unrealistic expectations, as if one man could make another AOJB version 2, which just isn't on the cards, nor should be. However, when compared to the bands last album, this is a new lease of life... or old... whatever, It's good.
Track List & Rating Out of 10
1. The Hell in Me - 8
2. Beyond the Flames - 9
3. A New Awakening - 8
4. In Due Time - 9
5. A Tribute to the Fallen - 8
6. Turning Point - 7
7. All We Have - 7
8. You Don't Bleed for Me - 7
9. The Call - 8
10. No End in Sight - 7
11. Always - 8
12. Time Will Not Remain - 8
on 20 October 2015
The first album back with there original singer. Of course its great Metalcore or modern metal is a better tital. Heavy, Brutal, but with melody and thought, not just noise like some newer bands.BUY! you won,t be dissappointed
on 29 April 2013
This is the first KsE album i'm able to listen to all the way through and enjoy all of it equally. Ive liked songs from all their past albums, but this one strikes the right balance between clean/aggressive vocals, guitar riffing and melodies, fast and slow paced songs, recording quality, and overall song quality. (For the record I like all the songs on Alive or Just Breathing too, but due to it's aggressiveness I can't often listen to it all in one sitting).
Now to break it down, first of all I think the album mix is much better here, I feel their last 2 albums have been too heavy in the mid-range, this one is mixed much like Alive or Just Breathing/The End of Heartache.
Jesse is a very good fit for the band, while Howard has a better clean singing voice (imo) Jesse is my overall favourite. On Alive or Just Breathing I feel Jesse was good, just a little too aggressive at times. It makes the album sometimes hard to listen to, whereas here he strikes a perfect balance of vocal styles.
Some people are saying this album is good but doesn't do much different to past albums, I disagree. Whilst the band's style is relevantly unchanged the actual song quality is vastly superior, that's the big change with this release. I dont know how much influence Jesse had on the actual instrument work but the lyrical content is totally different to Howard's stuff, and I think this has a big part to play in the song quality.
To sum up, this is a great album full of great songs, my favourite has to be 'In Due Time', it has perfect lyrics, catchy verses + choruses, and the instrument work is second to none. This shouldn't disappoint KsE fans, in fact if anything it will probably earn them some new ones.
on 18 February 2015
I neve really gelled with the last album (Killswitch Engage), but this album I enjoyed from start to finish. This album has tracks that are much faster, with the odd blast beat in there. The songwriting is much better on this album.
The key reason a lot of people are buying this album is because Jesse Leach is back. Jesse is an exceptional vocallist, and has done a great job both lyrically and vocally on this album. I have noticed a lot of fans complaining that the screamy/growly vocals aren't as harsh or 'in your face' as Jesse's hardcore type vocals usually are. I agree that they don't quite have his usual live emotive screams/growls, but then this is a new project. If you are looking for Alive or Just Breathing II go and listen to some Times of Grace (Hymn of a broken man is a fantastic album, and has more of the screamy/growl tone that some expect from Jesse).
The drums on this album are spectacular. The guitars are top notch as you'd expect, and the bass is more prominent than the last album. The production of this album feels very similar to the last self titled album. It feels a little glossed over. I've always considered KSE albums to have that thick heavy in your face sound, but I also know that artists need to move on and experiemtn. Overall this is one of the better albums. 8.5/10.
on 2 September 2014
If you like KE then you'll like this. I'm not a big screamo fan but I love the melodic parts they do together with the heavy bassy riffs. Since really getting into them after Download 14 they're all I'm listening to right now.
on 21 September 2013
Its great to have Jesse Leach back on a KSE album after all these years, it's defiantly an improvement over there last album, fast paced songs and Jesses screaming and singing is great to hear again, ill still miss Howard as he was just amazing and I still think Alive or Just Breathing is still Jesse's best KSE album but this is still a return to form and one 2013s best metal albums