Times Of Grace - The Hymn Of A Broken Man review


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Band: Times Of Grace
Album: The Hymn Of A Broken Man
Release date: January 2011

01. Strength In Numbers
02. Fight For Life
03. Willing
04. Where The Spirit Leads Me
05. Until The End Of Days
06. Live In Love
07. In The Arms Of Mercy
08. Hymn Of A Broken Man
09. The Forgotten One
10. Hope Remains
11. The End Of Eternity
12. Worlds Apart
13. Fall From Grace
14. Willing [acoustic version] [bonus]

Looking back at Times Of Grace in 2020 is an odd experience, knowing that Hymn Of A Broken Man foreshadowed the return of Leach back into Killswitch Engage only a year after this album was released; you are prone to treat the album as a Killswitch album in all but name. However, I would be remiss to ignore the fact that yes, while it does have a lot in common with Killswitch Engage, The Hymn Of A Broken Man has a lot of unique features that stand tall and alone.

Featuring a more poetic and esoteric approach to the lyrics than he had (and would have) in Killswitch, Leach helps give the album its own flavour; steeped in melancholy and introspection, the album is a walk through the ruminations of a man speaking out while looking in. Dutkiewicz crafts tracks like the morose "The End Of Eternity", the instant classic "The Forgotten One" and the hauntingly beautiful "Where The Spirit Leads Me", all of which stand alone from any of the pair's prior work.

Yes, it is obvious that a lot of these tracks could have had the Killswitch Engage name slapped on them and it would be an easy fit. Tracks like the adrenaline-inducing "Willing", sing-a-long anthem "Live In Love" and "Hope Remains" provide the dose of Killswitch with Leach at the helm fans had been wanting for a nearly a decade. Each track would be one of the better tracks on a Killswitch Engage album.

The band weave tracks together to create a tapestry that creates a unique presentation of both old and new ideas. "Willing", "Where The Spirit Leads Me", "The Forgotten One" and "Fall From Grace" stand out as the album's best moments, each track as strong as they are different from each other. The tracks sound raw, like they had just pulled them up from deep down inside the emotional well, yet are refined and well-sculpted to create a strong representation of what they stand for.

Leach is on fire behind the microphone; more confident in himself, his voice is stronger for the conviction and he digs deep inside this newfound strength to offer up one of the best vocal performances of his career. Dutkiewicz handles the instrumental duties and he does so sounding like a natural behind whatever instrument he puts his hand to, crafting some fine instrumental tracks that shine not only in their own right but as something Leachcan springboard off of.

With Leach now back in Killswitch Engage, The Hymn Of A Broken Man has been lost to the years and cast off as redundant one-off. This fate is a massive disservice to an album that is not only a beacon in the mists of the past, but is superior to many of the albums that feature the Killswitch name.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 8
Production: 8

Written by omne metallum | 22.05.2020


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

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