Killswitch Engage brings energy to new album

Image courtesy of Roadrunner Records

Image courtesy of Roadrunner Records

Killswitch Engage is a band whose impact on the modern metal scene cannot be understated.

Their modern-day classic Alive or Just Breathing influenced modern metal in a similar way that Iron Maiden’s Piece of Mind and Metallica’s Ride the Lightning did during their respective eras, and Killswitch Engage has since spawned a legion of copycats — some good, some not so good.

Disarm the Descent
is somewhat of a spiritual successor to 2002’s Alive or Just Breathing, as it sees the return of original Killswitch Engage vocalist Jesse Leach, whose performance on Alive or Just Breathing remains timeless. Leach rejoined the band after Howard Jones left in 2011.

When you listen to a Killswitch Engage album, you know what you’re going to get: crushing riffs, catchy melodies, and a stark contrast between harsh and clean vocals. At its core, the album is no different than any other Killswitch album, but the execution by the band is still just as impressive as it’s ever been.

Cuts such as “The Hell in Me,” “You Don’t Bleed For Me” and “No End in Sight” prove this. Disarm the Descent displays a newly invigorated Killswitch Engage full of fresh energy.

Leach is certainly a welcome addition back into the band. It’s clear just how much he’s grown as a vocalist in the 10 years he’s been absent, and these songs likely would have been very different had Jones been singing them.

Additionally, the songwriting is as strong as ever, full of melodies that will be replaying in your brain for days to come. Among these, “Always,” and groovy guitar gallops and chugs that will unleash the inner headbanger in you, such as “Turning Point” and “All We Have.”

The downfall of Disarm the Descent, if it has one, is Killswitch Engage’s refusal to stray from their own formula. Long time fans will embrace the album, while others may criticize the band for not showing enough growth. Time will tell how it stacks up to the rest of their catalog.

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Aaron Lambert

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