Times of Grace – The Hymn of a Broken Man


Album

The Hymn of a Broken Man

Label

Roadrunner Records

Year

2011

For Fans Of

Killswitch Engage - All That Remains - Unearth

Summary

Reuniting the past

Rating

76 / 100

Doc Brown may want to check if his DeLorean is still in the garage. As initial musical proceedings play out, it appears Jesse Leach has hijacked his way back to 2002 – just after the release of ‘Alive or Just Breathing‘. Early on, debut album from Killswitch past and present stalwarts Dutkiewicz and Leach feels like nothing more than Killswitch Engage under a different moniker. However, this is only a fleeting observation. One which becomes more stark as the album pans out.

Interpret this whichever way you want. it is intended as neither a positive or negative endorsement. Killswitch Engage fans will immediately be drawn to debut album from Times of Grace entitled, ‘The Hymn of a Broken Man‘. All the essential ingredients are retained but fortunately there is some distinct variation, which saves Times of Grace from delivering ‘Alive or Just Breathing vol 2.0‘.

The million dollar question in this case: is Killswitch Engage merely under a different guise adequate enough or simply a redundant exercise in musical creation? It is a question that makes itself irrelevant as the full-length progresses. The beauty is, as the album moves forward Times of Grace seem to find their own voice and sound, which differs and subsequently removes themselves from any KsE comparisons. ‘The Hymn of a Broken Man‘ is a more melodic, moody affair with controlled periods of heavy abrasiveness but always consistently balanced by lighter moments.

Strength in Numbers‘ is about as heavy as it gets and serves as a promising opening with its driving rhythmic pulse and riff-steady approach. Fans of melodic metal are well catered to here. The subsequent songs adhere closely to a swaying and contrasting musical structure that revolve around the emotive. Hence, ‘The Hymn of a Broken Man‘ is neatly bordered between hard rock with a radio friendly edge and menacing periods of aural confrontation.

Live in Love‘ arguably encapsulates the album effectively into one song. A prominent chorus is matched by headbanging, faster moments. ‘In the Arms of Mercy‘ is an ambient, acoustic track while ‘The Forgotten One‘ is a country inspired tune, which is the album’s main surprise, changing previous musical direction. Other notable tracks include, ‘Worlds Apart‘ and ‘Willing‘.

The Hymn of a Broken Man‘ will not deter Killswitch fans, in fact it may be a blessing for those still in denial, pretending Jesse Leach still remained in the fold. Conversely, Times of Grace‘s debut album offers enough subtle difference to warrant new listeners in and perhaps a sense of optimism for future pursuits.

Conclusion

The Hymn of a Broken Man‘ has a dual sense of purpose about it. On the one hand, it brings some sort of closer to the Leach/KsE relationship while simultaneously providing a platform for future collaboration. Times of Grace is by no means a flash in the pan musical project. Its similarities to the two musicians other bands will draw you in but it is the differences that will guarantee expectations are met (and at times exceeded).

Tracklisting

1. Strength in Numbers
2. Fight for Life
3. Willing
4. Where the Spirit Leads Me
5. Until the End of Days
6. Live in Love
7. In the Arms of Mercy
8. Hymn of a Broken Man
9. The Forgotten One
10. Hope Remains
11. The End of Eternity
12. Worlds Apart
13. Fall from Grace

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