The Empire Shall Fall

This came out of nowhere.

I had no idea that Jesse Leach (the original Killswitch Engage vocalist) was still making music after Seemless, and it seems like the man has been at it hard because Awaken is a beast, and to be frank it puts the Killswitch effort this year in the shade.

Even after listening to this for the umpteenth time, it’s hugely satisfying to hear Leech unleash the strength of his vocal chords, and he reaches into every part of his repertoire throughout the album’s sub 40 minute runtime. He is definitely the focal point but the music is equally colourful and interesting, with plenty of variety in structure, texture and tone. Take the crushing breakdown at the climax of the opening title track, coupled with Leach’s soaring vocals. It’s epic but also thoroughly pounding and shows a level of maturation above the more straight forward Killswitch poundings of the past few years.

“Voices Forming Weapons” is one of the album’s standouts with Leech’s vocals being pushed hard be it graceful singing, earthshaking bellows are piercing screams. “Choir of angels,” is another belter. It kicks off with blazing, almost blackened riffing and Leach’s fevered screams scratching over the top of the assault (he even sounds like Tomas Lindberg on these sections). After a near minute and a half of this, the tempo shifts and glides into relentless, focused chugging before melting into a brief spoken word passage. After more shifts and transitions, the track ends with glistening, delicate picking patterns, akin of Misery Signals or Life in Your Way.

This is seriously impressive, not just the fact that Leach is back, but that he has been able to assemble a group of musicians capable of taking his voice to levels that perhaps he couldn’t have attained with Killswitch. What’s more, there is a decidedly progressive feel to the material on Awaken, and even more poignant is that despite the album’s heavy usage of melody, there is no “My Last Serenade,” or “Rose of Sharyn” pop singles, which to be frank, they could have filled the album with.

I could go on further dissecting the musical marvels but you should do yourself the service of going and grabbing this gem whilst it’s still a secret (or maybe I am just too disconnected from the media machine these days).

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Benjamin DeBlasi
December 10th, 2009


  1. Commented by: dr_neo_cortex

    haha this was a suprise to me too i had no idea this was coming out. killswitch’s and seamless’ first records are guilty pleasures of mine definitely gonna check this one out, it sounds promising.

  2. Commented by: Plaguemyheavensblack

    Killswitch will never come close to releasing a record as good as Alive or Just Breathing. Jesse Leach made that album

  3. Commented by: gabaghoul
  4. Commented by: xbenx

    Then you both need to give this a chance.

  5. Commented by: vegard

    hearing leech starting screaming at the end of the first song made me do the biggest grin of the year. great album, amazing vocals. glad he’s doing a metal album again.

  6. Commented by: faust666

    This album is better than everything KSE has or will ever put out.
    This is metalcore done right.

  7. Commented by: Scott Lawlor

    Ok I agree with this review 100%. I purchased “Awaken” on iTunes and was very happy with it. But the review missed one huge part about this album. The content, the content of this album comes at a time when when people need to do just that “Awaken”. “Silence is compliance to they enemy”

  8. Commented by: Mark

    I just got my copy of this album yesterday, and I must say this is really good stuff, just like the guy above me “this IS metalcore done right “. Now my only gripe abpout this whole ordeal is that if you want a hard copy of TESF, you have to pay a ungodly amount of money for shipping and Handling. The CD is $10 and shipping is $6.

    But other than that, this album is worth the money in my eyes, but I don’t think many other people will pay that high for shipping. Itunes and Amazon downloads might be the best for those people to pick this up at.

  9. Commented by: Rev

    Since when is $16 too much to pay for an album? I think I paid $21 for Chaos AD at Musicland back in the day.

    Oh, wait…they went out of business. Nevermind.

  10. Commented by: Eric

    This album was a big disappointment. I’ve heard only good things, but to me it comes off as a pastiche of metal cliches from the past 10 years. There’s the breakdowns, the parts that rip off Meshuggah and so on. The transitions from style to style were jarring in a bad way. I just couldn’t find a flow to the music. I’m still glad to see Mr. Leach back doing what he does though. “Alive or Just Breathing” is close to the high watermark of metalcore. I hope he sticks around and I a hope I like the next The Empire Shall Fall record more.

  11. Commented by: Mark

    I must be spoiled i guess, I never pay more than 13.98 for my music.

    i still stand by my opinion I think for $16 the buyer should get a better package, Its just a CD and a Digicase.
    Hardly no artwork, no lyrics, nothing.

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