Killswitch Engage – The End Of Heartache
The Hobo Review

Killswitch Engage – The End Of Heartache
Label: Roadrunner Records
Genre: ‘New American Metal'
For Fans Of: Shadows Fall
Best Track: A Bid Farewell, Hope Is…


If you haven't heard of Killswitch Engage then you must have been living under a rock for the past few years (which, is not necessarily a bad thing). This is because during those past few years, Killswitch have experienced a rapid and much deserved rise to fame. After finishing a highly successful Ozzfest tour and a hectic run of assorted other tours, the band headed back to the studio in order to write and record the follow-up to 2002's acclaimed sophomore release, ‘Alive Or Just Breathing?'

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the band, Killswitch are another one of those hardcore-meet-melody acts, but - unlike most – they manage to pull it off with style, finesse and even credibility. If you're still having trouble imagining their music in your limited-capacity mind, think of Lamb Of God, Shadows Fall and Soilwork, with more softer, melodic passages acting as bridges between chunky-arsed metal riffing and catchy double-kick drumming patterns.

Since the last album, the Killswitch boys have a few major changes. Gone now is vocalist Jesse Leech (who left the band literally two weeks after the completion of AOJB), replaced now with Howard Jones (formerly of Blood Has Been Shed), bringing with him Blood Has Been Shed's ex-drummer Justin Foley.

Oddly enough, old fans couldn't have hoped for a better result. Despite losing a major band member, Killswitch sound tighter, harder, and more at ease than ever before. Stylistically the band has refused to change one iota – to some minor detriment. While Killswitch has been hailed by the majority of mainstream media as the forefront of the ‘New Wave Of American Metal', the major drawback for playing easily identifiable, mid-tempo metal can be heard after several spins of the disc. How many riffs-against-double-bass can the band create without sound derivative? How does one stop a fairly predictable structure from forcing the band into a spiral of uncreative, sterile, indifference?

With ‘The End Of Heartache', Killswitch have hit the metal-listening public with another solid release. While not groundbreaking as such, the refinement of style has brought the guys another step forward in the mainstream metal world. The single flaw on the album however, lies in the over-use of dramatized, emotion-laden choruses. While Dutkiewicz's production has assisted by means of layering and dynamic vocal chords, some melodic passages come off as too emo-core for this particular metal head.

Slowly all the choruses begin to sound exactly like the one from the track previous - and with that comes an element of predictability that I have managed to develop certain distaste for. From a fan's point-of-view, the band has not failed to evolve to the detriment of their style – but from a music critic's viewpoint – taking the entire metal scene into account – Killswitch only represent a new breed of bastardized, hardcore-emo nu-metallers.

At times the album cites moments of genius, but at others the music slips into a painful cycle of mediocratic formula. In these down periods emotion and power take a backseat to complexity and repetition, giving an almost claustrophobic effect. Killswitch have obviously thrust themselves into the catch 22 situation of changing-without-change – their success to date relying so heavily on their signature entrapping formulaic sound that will soon seal their downfall.

No doubt, fans will praise this album as they did the last, but those who were not wooed by the catchy bursts of melody between the grinding guitar work from the first two albums are unlikely to change their minds.

CD Info and Links

1.A Bid Farewell
2.Take This Oath
3.When Darkness Falls
4.Rose Of Sharyn
6.Breathe Life
7.The End Of Heartache
9.World Ablaze
10.And Embers Rise
11.Wasted Sacrifice
12.Hope Is...
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