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Killswitch Engage

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Album Review

A classic case of hindsight being 20/20, Killswitch Engage's eponymous debut is now viewed as a significant touchstone in the emergence of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, but it had only a limited impact upon the insular Northeastern hardcore scene when it was released through Ferret Records in 2000 (and that was mostly because its musicians had previously been involved with influential underground bands like Overcast and Aftershock). One listen is all that's required to understand why. Like many of their peers at the time, the musicians in Killswitch Engage were boldly testing the spartan limitations of hardcore songwriting — coming out of their inherited hardcore shell, if you will — by introducing heretical elements from heavy metal, elements which most genre purists would consider anathema. These included all manner of deathly Cookie Monster grunts and shrieks, fusillades of fast-picked notes, and intricate minor-key melodies, plus all manner of technical instrumental showboating (histrionic solos, double kick-drum blastbeats, unorthodox time signatures, etc.), which lifted album standouts like "Irreversal," "In the Unblind," and particularly "Temple from the Within" and "Vide Infra" beyond their more simplistic, hardcore-loyal counterparts. In fact, it wasn't at all surprising when these last two songs were re-recorded for the band's breakthrough second album, Alive or Just Breathing, by which time Killswitch Engage had symbolically swallowed the proverbial heavy metal bullet by signing with stalwart metal label Roadrunner. Compared to that sophomore effort, this eponymous first salvo can't help but sound formative, but it still contains plenty of exciting material for KE diehards, while embodying the curious conundrum of a transitory feel, despite there not being anything, technically speaking, for it to transition from! Told you it was a conundrum!

Customer Reviews


I hate it how everyone that likes kse thinks howard is the best singer alive. News flash people-hes good, but not great. At first i thought he was pretty good, but when i heard jesse's voice i was blown away by his shere brutal but melodic vocals. Just because howard isnt in the album doesnt make it terrible. You should open up a little more and you may find that you like jesse's voice. And by th way, jesse did not have vocal problems, in the alive or just breathing album he said that he was just married when they went on their huge tour and he said that he couldnt take being away from his wife because they did not even go on their honeymoon and he became extremely depressed and he decided it was his time to leave and have someone else carry the torch.

Overall, excellent album and a worthy buy.

(too busy head banging)

This is different than all the other KSE albums i have heard. Its like a mix between As I lay dying's early stuff and less singing. But does it matter? you'll be too busy head banging

great album

great album that kickstarted the succesfull career of Killswitch, and to the guy complaining that Howard doesn't sing on this, you need to realize that without this album and alive or just breathing Howard couldn't sing any songs for the band because they wouldn't have gotten anywhere without the original singer


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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