|Killswitch Engage - The End Of Heartache
11 May 2004
01. A Bid Farewell
02. Take This Oath [feat. Jesse Leach]
03. When Darkness Falls
04. Rose Of Sharyn
06. Breathe Life
07. The End Of Heartache [feat. Andy Sneap and Philip Labonte]
09. World Ablaze
10. And Embers Rise
11. Wasted Sacrifice
12. Hope Is... [feat. Philip Labonte]
13. My Life For Yours [Japanese bonus]
Disc II [Re-release edition] [bonus]
01. Irreversal [feat. Jesse Leach and Philip Labonte] [re-recorded version]
02. My Life For Yours
03. The End Of Heartache [Resident Evil version]
04. Life To Lifeless [live]
05. Fixation On The Darkness [live]
06. My Last Serenade [live]
07. Rose Of Sharyn [video]
08. The End Of Heartache [video]
One of the most promising bands of the American new wave of thrash (understand one of the leaders of the US nu-thrash scene) is back with a highly expected follow-up to their great debut Alive Or Just Breathing. Meanwhile, two years and a singer have gone, Howard Jones has settled down as the band's frontman, written the lyrics for the whole album, and shown some extended vocal abilities, Killswitch Engage has toured intensively across the United States, and also a bit everywhere else with their companions of Lamb Of God, Chimaira, Hatebreed, Shadows Fall and co. Has this quick elevation changed something in the good sense, or have they lost their mind? Have they kept a heavy direction, or have they decided to capitalize on the commercial success of nu-metal bands all over the world and sold their soul for the sake of broadcasting?
Undoubtedly, the success of their first album has decided Roadrunner to empty their pockets in order to give Killswitch Engage a decent production. The result is heavy, close to perfection, clean. A bit too clean maybe, I sometimes regret the raw and almost underground production of the previous album. The accent has been put on the melody for this new album, and that takes out a bit of aggressiveness. On the other hand, the songwriting privileges the melodies as well. No, they've not really gone more commercial than they were before, but there is a lot more passages with clean vocals than before. A serious work has been done on the choruses, which are all clean, catchy and almost melancholic sometimes. The great performance of Howard Jones, like on 'Take This Oath', bring a certain plus to the quality of the songs. He may sound a bit nu-metallish at times, but he's very good overall.
The music has also evolved a bit. It is still rooted in thrash, but the stop/start style of riffing has almost disappeared (although 'Rose Of Sharyn' and 'Breathe Life' for example remind me a lot of their previous works). This is a bad thing when you remember how good was the riff of 'Numbered Days' for example, but it's also a good thing because that's becoming a bit cliché, as almost every band today uses it. The music is then a bit less punchy, but at the same time it sounds to me more emotional. Actually, Killswitch Engage have found the perfect balance between sheer violence and intimate atmospheres (the title track 'The End Of Heartache' is proof).
I'm not the kind of person to whine about the commercial success of bands I like, unless they serve me shit. That means I'm more than happy that Killswitch Engage recorded a great album that is potentially a future hit. No matter what bitter-minded people -or simply those who don't like them- can say, I have the feeling that this band is honest, sincere and straightforward. I am also certain that they've just released another excellent album (I know I'm repeating myself but there have been a lot of great releases this year). If you don't have anything against modern metal, well, this is a must-buy.
Highlights: A Bid Farewell, Take This Oath, When Darkness Falls, The End Of Heartache