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Disarm the Descent (Special Edition)

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Album Review

Though their (second) self-titled album found Killswitch Engage reintroducing themselves as a more accessible, albeit still plenty frenzied, metalcore band, their sixth album, Disarm the Descent, feels as though they're reintroducing themselves not to the audience, but to one another. Returning to the band after the departure of Howard Jones in 2012, original vocalist Jesse Leach finds himself once again picking up vocals duties after parting ways with the group in 2002. Though Leach was a part of the band during their formative years, over a decade has passed since then, and while the performances by all parties involved here are certainly solid ones, they don't quite capture the raw power of their earlier work. In the time since Leach left the fold, Killswitch Engage have matured into a tighter, more refined band than they were for Alive or Just Breathing, and while Leach has certainly grown as a singer in the intervening years, the album doesn't quite recapture that sense of catharsis the band possessed back then. This isn't to say that the album is bad — in fact, it's quite solidly constructed, an almost watertight specimen of technical acumen — but that fans expecting this album to be a full-on time machine back to 2002 might be a bit disappointed. What the album might lack in muscle, however, it makes up for in speed, often feeling like a throwback to the days of thrash's blistering technicality, but where past album rampaged, this one merely races. At the end of the day, defining the exact shade of Disarm the Descent's melodic aggression might be splitting hairs, the most important thing for Killswitch fans is that while the band might be adjusting after a shake-up like losing a singer, they've still managed to create another riff-fest that, while not a throwback to their older sound, has them continuing down their current path without much trouble. [A Special Edition CD/DVD was also released.]

Customer Reviews

Exciting times..

This album is going to slay. Love Jesse Leach's vocals and by the sound of the available single, this band is gonna propel themselves back on track. Roll on April!

Return of Jesse Leach

Killswitch Engage return after departure of vocalist Howard Jones (due to health reasons and rumours of other, less savoury, reasons). After Jones took the band on a meteoric rise with The End of Heartache and As Daylight Dies (less so with their latest self-titled album, which many fans deem the bands weakest effort), it was always going to be tough to find a vocalist to match Howard Jones. Who better then to take his throne than the original band's vocalist Jesse Leach (who sang on the bands breakout album and fan favourite Alive or Just Breathing), who returns all guns blazing on this new single.

Jesse's screaming sounds just as devastating as on the 2002 magnum opus, as he growls and screeches throughout the verses, before switching to soothing, soulful singing in the chorus. Jesse's aggressive vocals have come leaps and bounds even since his latest projects (Seemless, The Empire Shall Fall- check those guys out, TESF are still writing music even now, with Jesse at the helm, and Times of Grace) since leaving Killswitch Engage a decade ago. The chorus isn't the band's catchiest and takes a bit of time to grow on the your ears. There is definitely a certain presence of vocal effects (autotuning) on Leach's clean singing, which feels slightly unnatural and unneccesary but it strangely makes the chorus seem all the more soothing and silky smooth.

The guitars seem to have been set alight with a new-found energy, Adam D and Joel Stroetzel wielding their weapons with precision. The riffs seem to be the focus here, much more immediate than anything off the 2009 self-titled album, while the melody lead work sounds quite similar to the melodic playing from that album. The albums guitars and production would be best described as a balance between Alive or Just Breathing and As Daylight Dies, a blend of past and present, of course helped along by the return of Jesse Leach.

The song is great, energetic return for the band, if a bit typical and simplistic. The return of the humble, quite-spoken (in person at least) vocalist, Mr. Leach, sweetens the deal and brings a fresh take on the modern Killswitch Engage sound. New album Disarm the Descent should be a corker!

Amazing !

The new single blew me away ! I can't wait to hear the rest !


Formed: 1999 in Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The four bandmembers who came together and created Killswitch Engage already had strong fan followings. Mike D'Antonio (bass) was formerly the leader and principal songwriter of Overcast, the legendary underground metal group. When Overcast split in 1998, D'Antonio sought for a year to find the right combination of players to fuse hardcore and metal with melody. During the summer of 1999, D'Antonio connected with Adam Dutkiewicz, who was the drummer for Aftershock, and Joel Stroetzel, Aftershock's...
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