Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Metalcore! Conceived on the night, when extreme metal decided to rub his dark, veiny ball-sac and shoot his load into the romantic poems and anguish-filled ballads of the world (considered despicable to the ears of the average metal shishya). This genre has been wrongfully bombarded with a whole bag of criticism and brutally accused of polluting the genre that we so love, with its brand of “testosterone deprived, pussy-soaked choruses and melodic lines.” On the other hand it has opened doors to a wider audience, especially to the members of the fairer sex and has personally connected to the metalheads having a history of baggage, bad relationships and other emotional demons.
Veteran band Killswitch Engage, one of the titans of this genre (and the band, that personally introduced me to metalcore), has come out with its first album in their post-Howard Jones era, entitled Disarm the Descent. The cover art was once again created by bassist Mike D’Antonio.
The album starts with “The Hell In Me”, which begins with a black metal intro with blast beats and then transpires into a very groove metal section, with a tad influence of progressive metal, when the vocals kick in. The chorus is extremely melodic with clean vocals. The song suddenly becomes dark before going into a clean guitar passage with whisper vocals and hyena screams and goes back to the chorus. “Beyond The Flames” starts with an extremely Gothenburg melo-death inspired passage with clean vocals. The vocals transpire to high screams layered with Adam D’s signature shrills. A psychedelic break-down occurs during the mid-section with tribal drums and a simple bass line and goes back to its original texture. “Beyond The Flame” is followed by “New Awakening” which has a polyrhythmic intro and a low-registered guitar riff with a sort of jazzy feel. The chorus has a melodic feel to it and towards the middle, before the solo, goes into a passage that is infused with the classic heavy metal chant.
“In Due Time” starts with a riff that predominantly uses the last three strings. Jesse Leach uses the high-pitched scream approach towards the vocals which then becomes clean, during the pre-chorus and chorus. The chorus is extremely trippy with an arpeggiating guitar section and minimal drum work and the solo is highly commendable.
“A Tribute to the Fallen” starts with a thrashy riff and has an extremely melodic chorus with clean vocals. Justin Foley’s approach towards this song is relatively simple and is to just follow the rhythm guitar section of Joel Stroetzel, with the exception of the solo, where he goes into a manic double-bass blitzkrieg.
“The Turning Point” starts with a heavy riff incorporating a complex time sequence. The intro is extremely haunting and the song changes texture to a classic metalcore-thrash passage after a while. The solo should be given special mention for its speed and precision. “All That We Have” has a thrash metal opening and is a good change from the melody of the previous songs. The chorus is extremely psychotropic and oozes out an anguish-filled beauty with a tad bit of remorse. The song then flows into a groove section and comes back to the chorus.
“You Don”t Bleed For Me” is your quintessential metalcore song and is followed by “The Call” which starts with a triplet riff and tones down to the normal 4/4 time signature and is again, extremely thrashy. The pre-chorus is filled with blast beats and has clean vocals and the song progresses to the chorus with a heavy reduction in tempo.
“No End in Sight” is again, a typical metalcore song and is followed by “Always” which is extremely psychedelic. The song has a romantic tinge to it and is a well needed change from the speed at which the album was going. “Time Will Not Remain” turns the speed up and is an apt song for cessation. The chorus changes to a 3/4 signature and has clean vocals, but what mesmerizes you in this song is the solo, which is absolutely brilliant.
Justin Foley has improved tremendously as a drummer, blowing you away with his precision and Adam has strengthened his cemented position as one of the engineers of the metalcore scene with his powerful riffs. The icing on this monstrous cake of an album is the presence of some mind-altering solos to enhance the beauty of the songs. The only thing I did not like about the album was its length. I felt they should have limited the album to eight to nine songs, thus giving the monotony quotient a gargantuan reduction. Other than that, the album is definitely good.
There might be some asinine pissants that exclaim and convince themselves that this band will never release The End of Heartache again. I would like to make a point here and say that I adhere to the “stroke of genius” school of thought and I believe that some albums can never be replicated. You do not see a “Master of Puppets”, a “Rust In Peace” and a “Reign In Blood” walk hand in hand and sharing a cigarette in a garden full of roses on a daily basis. This album was an extremely satisfactory effort by the band. Sure, the presence of Howard Jones will be missed, but I will never say that Jesse Leach is a bad vocalist. He was their original vocalist and fits in with the band to dot the ‘I’s and cross the ‘T’s. The fans (myself included) need some time to move out from the familiar zone of Howard Jones” deep, powerful voice and acknowledge the sweetness and innocence of Jesse Leach’s voice. Other than that, the band is at the top of their game with Justin Foley and Adam D raping our tender ears, setting them straight and raping them again, with their astonishing drumming/riffing genius. So fellas…….what”s next?