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Killswitch Engage (Special Edition)

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Album Review

Westfield, MA-based metalcore kings Killswitch Engage's fifth full-length album (and second eponymous release) was co-produced by Brendan O'Brien (Bruce Springsteen, AC/DC, Aerosmith, Mastodon), resulting in the group's most commercially viable collection of progressive/thrash/emo-metal to date. Where 2006's As Daylight Dies hinted at an accelerated focus on the more melodic aspects of extreme metal, Killswitch Engage cements the notion. After a typically brutal opener that epitomizes the band's penchant for scorching thrash-heavy verses and sweeping, melodious choruses, the quintet spits out the radio-ready "Starting Over." Flanked by dual guitar leads that echo classic Iron Maiden and shot through with a truly great vocal take from lead singer Howard Jones (who sounds remarkably like a classically trained Trent Reznor throughout the album), it's one of the album's finest, though ultimately divisive moments. It sets a significantly different template for the remainder of the record, trading tight machine-gun riffs ("Save Me," "A Light in a Darkened World") for angst-fueled midtempo dirges ("Lost," "This Is Goodbye") that might disappoint fans who feel that the punk-infused slow-burn post-hardcore albums like Alive or Just Breathing and End of Heartache are the barometers for which all future endeavors must be compared.


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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Killswitch Engage (Special Edition), Killswitch Engage
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