January 6, 2005

CD Review: Killswitch Engage - The End of Heartache

For awhile now, people have been recommending that I check out this band called Killswitch Engage. I was like "Yeah, yeah..." and pretty much just shrugged them off. There are just so many recent metal acts that just don't deliver, I didn't really want to be disappointed. I heard them on the Freddy vs. Jason soundtrack, and thought it was a pretty good track, but still, it didn't make much of an impression. Finally, I gave in and decided to check out their latest release, The End of Heartache.

I slipped it into the player, hit play, and was completely blown away. Where have I been? Why didn't I listen sooner and pick up the album? How did these guys slip past under my radar? Questions I simply cannot answer. But, I will say that this is one incredible album, and probably one of the best metal releases of the past year.

The music is simultaneously bone crushing and melodic. There are not that many bands that can claim mastery over this style, but Killswitch Engage is one of them. They remind me a lot of Fear Factory, although not quite as industrial, yet similar in style. Leading with a two guitar attack from Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel, providing riffs that are as heavy as they come, yet softer melodic harmonies co-exist as well. The backbone is supplied by new drummer Justin Foley, punishing the drumkit and keeping up with the guitars. Mike D'Antonio lays down the bass groove, the glue holding it together. And on top of all that are the soaring vocals of new addition Howard Jones, who can sing and scream with the best of them. Taken together what you get is one of the best metal units around. I can't believe it's taken me this long to "discover" them.

Even while playing it for just the first time, I found myself singing, or at least trying or humming, ahh you know what I mean, along with it. it was just so easy to get into it, the music sounded so familiar, it just slips right into place.

A few tracks stand above the rest. The first one to jump out is also the first track of the album, and a perfect example of the melodic/heavy mix. The song is "A Bid Farewell." A few other notable tracks include "When Darkness Falls" and "World Ablaze." I don't want to come off as too enthusiastic, but this is am excellent metal release.

Bottomline. Any self respecting metalhead should have this album, or be in the process of acquiring a copy. Now I just need to check out their past albums. This band is poised to leap to the top of the metal heap.

Highly Recommended.


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