Killswitch Engage are nothing short of a phenomenon. With their last two albums they have succeeded in redefining the landscape of modern metal. With a sound as catchy as it is technical and melodic as it is vicious, their art is indeed in the perfect equilibrium of accessibility and brute force.
By producing a type of metal that the likes of yours truly didn't have a clue how to classify, they may have landed themselves and their peers the cringe-worthy label of "New Wave Of American Metal" but if they have to be reined into a genre, then as this momentous live DVD proves, they'll be gnashing at the bit for the entire ride.
Comprised of a live set filmed in their hometown of Worcester, MA, surely there could be no better setting for a Killswitch show. Shot in front of a ballistic home crowd, A Bid Farewell kicks off this blistering performance, with which I struggled to find fault.
A Bid Farewell is swiftly followed by the enormous single Breathe Life, where guitarist and producer Adam D goes some way towards compensating for his über goofy stage alterego with a solo that cuts home with sincerity.
Breathe Life will leave you breathless at Howard Jones' vocal dexterity. You expect a man who is built bigger than anything the US army have sent to the Middle East to be able to scream like the all the world's anguish is lodged in his gut, but it is the coupling of this with a clean voice that rivals his scream in quality which sets him apart from anyone else in the metal scene.
Prelude and Hope Is Not Lost are two further moments that will grab and infect you with the Killswitch bug, the latter offering lyrically the kind of fresh air that more one-dimensional bands like Chimaira can only dream of. Life To The Lifeless is one of the only filler tunes present, but one of KsE's breakthrough singles, Rose Of Sharyn, soon puts us things back on track.
Following 90 minutes' of live footage filmed with 15 cameras, there are enough extras packed on to the disc to send even the most avid fan to sleep. A 40-minute documentary consists mainly of guitarist Joel Stroetzel's mum and the band's tour mates singing the band's praises again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again...
Thankfully, the repetitive approval of everyone on the screen about every element of the band is overcome by the inclusion of KsE's music videos that supply some welcome "artistic" relief.
As mentioned, anyone who has seen KsE live will be fully aware of the absolute annoyance that is Adam D's egotistical tomfoolery. Thankfully, excusing his silk cape and denim cut-offs, his self-indulgent distraction is kept to a minimum for the live set. However, if he is the one thing you don't like about KsE, you may hate the entirety of the supplied extras.
Still, there's no questioning that with Adam D's production credits helping to catapult newcomers into the limelight (Norma Jean, The Agony Scene); with a singer who also manages bands; and with a bassist who provides artwork and design for a sizeable chunk of the NWOAHM scene; metal would doubtless be a much less vibrant place without this quintet. So, if you want an opportunity to witness them in action at their peak, buy this now.