I've been a KsE fan for a long time now, and this album is an absolute cracker. I think it is WAY more creative and diverse than As Daylight Dies. All the songs are strong and there is an abundance of epic singalong choruses.
KsE have added a bit more southern rock, a heap more thrash and some more considered and atmospheric riffing with greater use of effects than on previous releases. Some reviewers on here have slated this album and one in particular knocked the choruses - they sound fine to me!! Also much criticism is made of the lyrics - they are credited to KsE so I'm not certain if it is solely Howard who writes them. Yes, there are many songs which seem to be about failed relationships, but there is positivity in the way these problems are handled too. I don't see how KsE could have kept banging on about positivity etc. as they did with Jesse's 'message' on Alive or Just Breathing - that would have been tiresome and would also have served to dilute Jesse's contribution. If you watch the band history section on the (Set The) World Ablaze DVD (not included with this!!) you'll see that AOJB was very much Jesse's vision lyrically. It's entirely reasonable that the band would take a different lyrical slant without him.
Expectations are WAY too high these days - there are just too many bands all peddling similar musical wares. Let us not forget that KsE originated the 'scream/sing' metalcore genre and IMHO are still the finest band in the genre; they have the songs, the musicianship, and a cracking live show to boot (go see them, Adam D is a spectacle to be witnessed...). The special edition's live tracks are great quality and as a guitarist/bassist myself I cannot believe the high standard of musicianship modern metal bands pull off playing live - Adam and Joel's riffing is tight as hell, Mike's bass adds a pounding bottom end, Justin has got to be one of the most solid, subtly creative and underrated drummers in metal, and Howard's larynx-lacerating vocals are superb (as they were when I saw them, and as they are on the cracking 'Set The World Ablaze' DVD, which is a MUST SEE for all KsE fans).
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