Killswitch Half-Engaged

Killswitch Engage have always been one of the most consistent bands on the heavy scene. Whether you focus on the Jesse Leach era (both) or Howard Jones, they’ve always produced albums of a certain level of quality it has always stood them above so many similar bands around them. When Jesse Leach returned to the band a few years ago, no one was really sure how it was all going to work out. Disarm The Descent brushed any concerns aside in one swift stroke and the band threw themselves in to another new era which promised to keep them rooted as one of the most important bands in Metal. On the first couple of listens with Incarnate you’ll be beaming, fist pumping and head banging along - but if we’re really honest it’s not an album which really lasts with you. Disarm The Descent had a level of quality and aggression which warrants repeat listens, the same unfortunately can’t be said for Incarnate. It’s a good album, there’s just something slightly missing.

The opening couple of tracks are superb. Both Alone I Stand and Hate By Design sound absolutely imperious, together providing a brilliant snapshot in to what Killswitch Enagage have perfected for so long. The album then begins to wane slightly - it’s an easy listen, but even when trying to pinpoint your focus you can’t help but allow it to fall in to background music territory. You do get the impression that the band were trying different things here and there, but musically at times it does just sort of plod along a bit. The same cannot be said for Jesse Leach though who’s performance on the album is the only thing which saves this really falling in to ‘Generic Metal Album’ territory. His range across the album, from the frighteningly ferocious screams to the soaring clean vocals is frankly phenomenal. Ok, this album isn’t as good as Disarm The Descent but there is no denying that Jesse Leach’s impact has presented a new lease of life for Killswitch Engage.

Other highlights on the album include the Punk/Thrash fuelled Until The Day and the ominously heavy Loyalty closing out the album. Again these moments are a bit too sporadic; leaving you to feel that as a fifteen track album, there certainly should have seen a bit more left on the floor of the editing room.

Overall though, whilst this is a solid Killswitch Engage album it certainly isn’t their best. Some big tracks and Jesse Leach being brilliant saves it from being a real dud.