As if to silence any in metaldom who were not already aware of their self claimed rulership of the metalcore scene, the much anticipated fourth release from Killswitch Engage is filled with music so close to their signature ‘sound’ you’ll swear you’ve heard some of it before.
But fear not, thanks to their combined creative abilities, stagnation is not an issue this lot are going have to deal with for a while yet; the ability of this album to sound so familiar is only part of its genius.
Killswitch Engage have taught the metal world two things, (yes Adam D, other than “it’s ok to wear denim hot pants onstage”.) the first of which is perhaps most needed in a world where many testosterone fuelled artists take themselves FAR too seriously. Whereas it’s possible to attain notoriety (and riches!) as a novelty act, a la The Darkness, it is surely a much greater skill to combine the ability to have a giggle whilst also maintaining something resembling integrity to your music.
Enter an act that can shred most others into the ground, who openly embrace sing along melodies and yet still manage to take the piss out of themselves more frequently than an incontinent pensioner. Needless to say, this is something Killswitch Engage have become masters at, and As Daylight Dies provides a manifesto that will convert the heathens within mere bars.
Onto the little advertised second lesson Killswitch Engage impart. During four albums of crushingly heavy standards, the mouthpiece of this monstrous act has not uttered a single expletive on tape. Somewhat paradoxically, while their onstage banter may leave your mothers ears burning, the bands lyrics have consistently sought to dig a little deeper than most, without succumbing to the conventionally stale implementation of shock tactics to convey their point.
While many mourned the loss of previous (and stupendously talented) vocalist Jesse Leach, Howard Jones managed to not only match both his predecessors’ commitment to genuinely impressive vocal range but also displays an equally authentic lyrical depth. For many, the profundity of emotions dealt with in their songs may go unnoticed beneath Dutkiewicz and Stroetzel’s guitar wizardry, but that’s the beauty of it; the New England boys manage to be thought provoking for those who seek it, without getting all televangelist and demanding allegiance to their denomination.
For those only interested in the riffs, panic no. Killswitch Engage certainly haven’t swapped brutal metallic impact for philosophical musing, as the relentless pace of Unbroken and For You both bear testament too. The latter of these will leave fellow percussionists in awe of Justin Foley’s simply incredible dexterity as he drops off kilter snare blasts between barrages of precision attack on the double kick.
Break the Silence and Reject Yourself will get Bullet For My Valentine fans foaming at the mouth, as well as enlightening the pre pubescent masses as to where the Welsh lads nicked their sound from! With scorching doubled lead melodies that drive throughout, the vocal tag team action of Adam D and Howard Jones works perfectly, even if the lanky white boy’s screams onstage often stray into the realms of pantomime theatre.
You might be ‘too hardcore’ too accept the dichotomy of styles showcased on singles such as The Arms of Sorrow or you might have hoped that they’d toned down the harsher elements of End of Heartache, but either way As Daylight Dies will certainly keep my foot tapping and my head inspired through the winter nights until the band hit these shores in January.