For Fans Of
The difference between a cook and a musician is that a chef can perfect a recipe night after night and be commended for it. When an act like Massachusetts metal mainstays Killswitch Engage follows a methodical set of steps for each product they deliver however, they get criticised. Go figure.
Seriously though, we’re not saying that offering up something different is bad: we’re just saying that Killswitch are goddamn good at what they do, which is providing us with some gnarly metalcore to get down to once every few years. The first song on their new record ‘Incarnate‘, titled ‘Alone I Stand’, prefaces the LP with sombre guitars and a preachy dialogue before transforming into a straight-up hardcore song with some metallic hard rock vocals. That’s pretty much the go-to formula for the whole full-length: something nifty and new, something borrowed from the back catalogue of their discography and something so emotive it could be described as ‘blue’, if you want to go all out with the cute little wedding tradition pun we had going there (see ‘It Falls On Me’ for the most feelings-oriented the album gets).
If you’re still upset that Howard Jones is gone, you confuse us, because Jesse Leach as a frontman absolutely delivers. Though at some points he sounds a little like Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath (and who’s to say that’s a negative?), he manages to hold the fort down throughout nuanced styles on ‘Cut Me Loose’ and a deep, take-no-prisoners delivery on ‘Hate By Design’.
It has to be said that you can tell that Killswitch are doing their best to branch out on ‘Incarnate’. Even though they were members of the wave that concocted their sonic brand, they acknowledge that staying static in sticking to it isn’t going to work, pulling unexpected punches like the plot twist on ‘Quiet Distress’, which we were definitely expecting to stay acoustic. It doesn’t quite function effectively enough to finally earn Killswitch the title of ‘dynamic’, but hey, maybe the crunchy, animal axe handling they gift us is enough.
If what you seek, cultured music fan, is something new and exciting, venture elsewhere for your metalcore fix. But if you’ve been battling on weary roads, down unknown Spotify paths, looking to return to the discography of an artist that you can rely on for making consistently similar yet equally enjoyable records a couple of times a decade, you have reached your destination.
1. Alone I Stand
2. Hate By Design
3. Cut Me Loose
4. Strength Of The Mind
5. Just Let Go
6. Embrace The Journey…Upraised
7. Quiet Distress
8. Until The Day I Die
9. It Falls On Me
10. The Great Deceit
11. We Carry On