Killswitch Engage
Killswitch Engage

I had an axe to grind with this album before I even heard it- not only was it a self titled album, which is one of my pet peeves, it was the second time the band has released a self titled album- are you kidding me? Also, with the band basically writing the same album twice with 2004s The End Of Heartache and 2006s As Daylight Dies, expectations were not exactly sky high for Killswitch Engage.

Either way, the first two tracks “Never Again”, and “Starting Over” did little to calm me down as they basically rehash the last two KsE album’s with their sugary, radio friendly metalcore which prompted me to think- “wow, not only has the band run out of album titles, they have run out of songs”. However, the third and fourth track soon quelled my anger, delivering two of the albums best cuts, and two of the bands best tracks; “The Forgotten” starts with a super cool sturdy thrash riff, highlighting the new producer (Brendan O’Brien (AC/DC, Rage Against the Machine), then the chorus is just to die for, with Adam D and Joel Stroetzel delivering an uber cool melody line. Then the “The Reckoning” delivers the album’s most urgent cut with a rollicking pace and another deft chorus. By this point, I’m far less crabby at the band and I simply enjoy the rest of the album for what it is- a solid, safe, commercial metalcore album but its also KsE’s best album since Alive or Just Breathing, and unlike brother act All That Remains, the band has avoided a considerable step back.

There are plenty of the typically bubblegum-core, verse chorus, radio ready numbers that filled The End of Heartache, like the first two tracks (“Take Me Way”, “Save Me”), but I can’t deny the likes of “A Light in Darkened World” and “I Would Do Anything”, are catchy little fuckers, and glossed with just enough NWSDM melodies and hardcore balls to keep me singing and head banging along. There’s also the moody, emotive ballads (“The Return”, “Lost”) which allow Howard Jones to keep crooning about his relationships and personal issues over crunchy riffs.

However, the album ends on another high note, by way of “This is Goodbye”- a killer, somber, semi ballad, with a just a killer chorus and yet another killer melody line- it’s yet another one of KsE’s best Howard Jones era songs, signally with a strong exclamation that Killswitch Engage is a fine album from a band people want to bury.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 17th, 2009


  1. Commented by: shane

    Really started a lot of my extreme listening with this band years ago. They were great. Shame they just don’t cut it anymore. They leaned to far to the “bubblegum-core” over the years. They should have went more death.

  2. Commented by: Shawn Pelata

    My son loves this album…he thinks it’s “softer” than their other albums, though…

  3. Commented by: Mark

    I liked Alive or just breathing, and some of the End of Heartache- So I asked my Friend what he thought of the new album, since we both like some of their older stuff, and we both hated As Daylight Dies. He said it was by far the worst killswitch album. the music waas subpar, the lyrics were all love songs(or lack thereof) Terrible News. bring back Aftershock

  4. Commented by: gabaghoul

    Alive or Just Breathing was probably my favorite album that year (and yes that counts all the other black/death releases).

    End of Heartache was glossier but still had some fine tracks – but I wrote the band off when the second single was a special version of the title track, minus the screamed vox.

    I will have to check this out though, nice to hear that after As Daylight Dies they’re not completely out of steam.

  5. Commented by: Facial La Fleur

    I’m a big fan of Alive Or Just Breathing and The End Of Heartache but to this day I haven’t been able to get into As Daylight Days. It sounds like this one might be alright for me. Good job, Erik, being fair and honest and giving it a good review when you could have just as well bashed it because you just don’t like them.

  6. Commented by: Reignman35

    I enjoyed this one… and I’m like you Erik, I thought it was gay as fuck that this is their SECOND self titled album. Come on… put half a damn thought into things for yourself and the genre.

  7. Commented by: AARONIUS

    This one is actually much better than the last two albums. I think it’s ultimately heavier too.

    The guitar tone Adam and Joel have on this one is fantastic. Still very clean but very heavy sounding too.

    I like it. Howard sounds great.

  8. Commented by: fightingmike

    I love “Alive…”, liked parts of “End of…” and hated “Daylight…”. I was pretty much over this band completely, but i decided to check this out and i am really digging it. Granted, it has tons of catchy melodic choruses and somewhat simple riffs and progressions, but something about this record hooks me. The production is MASSIVE! Brendan Obrien has been on of me favorite producers since the early 90’s Soundgarden and STP records and he has done a number here with KSE. The guitar tones are thick and chunky, the drums are huge, and the vocals are layered way more than any of their past records and that is what puts this over the top. The choruses are epic and the songwriting is just better than the past two records. It definitely isnt as aggressive, but the sound of this record us really heavy. This is what a major label mainstream metal record should sound like. This might set the bar for metal production in the way that “The Black Album” and “Slaughter of the Soul” did in the past. I thought this might be the nail in the coffin for KSE, but this should let them stick around a little longer.

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