[J]I’ve been following Killswitch Engage for many years now. They were one of the first bands that actually got me into metal so they’ve always had a special place in my music library. Having really enjoyed their previous album, I was curious to see whether they had kept that same formula which makes them one of the best modern metal bands. After hearing that Aidan was also interested in penning a few words, we decided to do a joint review and combine our thoughts into one cohesive piece. It’s more of a train of thought review, merely due to the album being out today. So without further ado, here is our review of the new Killswitch album. [/J]
Production wise, the harsh vocals sound huge in the mix. We’re not sure whether that’s due to double tracking or just some weird wizardry in the mix stage but they sound awesome! The rest of instruments are also clearly audible and sit well within the whole mix. Top marks to the engineers for that.
Opening the album, “Alone I stand” brings back those old memories of first hearing Killswitch. Strong uplifting choruses, and powerful yet melodic riffing. Opening with a spoken word section before slamming into the main riff, this song starts the album off well and is a great precursor of what comes later on.
Up next is the 2nd single from the album, “Hate by Design”. Having a ‘Balls to the walls’ style opening, the song immediately takes no prisoners and features way more double kick than we’ve heard in any other song from the band. In a way, the song has similar feel to the first song but features much more clean singing which showcases Jesse’ clean vocal style really well.
“Cut me Loose”, opens very differently from the previous two songs. Having more of a Times of Grace style with a slower overall pace than previous tracks it keeps the intensity of the previous tracks by kicking up the pace at 1:46. This leads into a much quicker section before dropping into breakdown bit and straight into back into the chorus.
The first single of the album “Strength of the mind”, then plays and we’re back to the usual Killswitch style of driving drums and guitar riffs. When we first heard the song, we were a little unimpressed by it due to the opening riff not being really memorable. Over time however, the track has grown on us and it’s actually not a bad song. Like “Hate By Design”, it has a similar up-lifting chorus with Jesse’s clean singing but also has quite an aggressive overall feel to it.
“Just Let go”, opens quite slowly and has an overall calm feel before changing up a gear into the main riffs of the song. Like “Cut Me Loose” the track features more clean vocals and has a faster overall pace to the track making it quite a thrashy number.
Opening with a Bass solo, “Embrace the Journey… Uprasied” then plays and is the classic metalcore song with carpet roll drums before it moves into the fast thrashy section around 1:04. Slowing into a epic chorus with guitar counter melodies panned either side adds much effect to this track before moving back into the fast verse and then into a breakdown. This is definitely a standout track, merely just for the cool instrumental part around 3:33 that leads into a building section followed by a breakdown. A classic metalcore track which is 3 million times better than the chug-fests that exist nowadays.
“Quiet Distress” opens with acoustic guitars before kicking into super-speed section at 0:35. We’d say that it’s more of a death metal style song with the melodic elements and clean vocals added as well to get into the usual Killswitch formula. Like the previous track this one is a standout track for being one of the fastest on the album and also one of the fastest we think the band has ever written.
Opening with a descending pattern followed by a more uptempo riff is “Until the Day I die”. It’s worth noting that there is some superb drumming on this track. As with the previous track, this one is quite a thrashy song with a fast overall pace and some pretty technical playing. The level of musicianship shown on this track is outstanding.
“It falls on me” has a similar feel to a Times of Grace song. Having a slower overall feel with the usual descending guitar melodies and slow chugging riffs it’s somewhat similar to “Cut me Loose”. Slowing down to a clean guitar section at 1:29 with Jesse using his clean vocals really changes the mood of the song and the song then ends with suspended guitar chord into feedback.
Opening with a pickslide into a fast riff is “The Great Deceit”. Upon our first listen to the track, we had to check and make sure we were listening to a Killswitch album. It sounds a little different from other tracks the band has made but still has the same trademark parts as evidenced by an epic sounding chorus. Like “Embrace…” this is a standout track on the album, purely for being a little different.
“We Carry On” opens with a building part which leads into slow/mid-paced section with clean vocals. The track has a more depressive feeling compared to other songs and has a slight feeling of despair with the atmosphere of the track. Again this track is similar to a Times of Grace track and could quite easily have been on ‘Hymn Of A Broken Man’.
The last track of the album opens with suspended chords on guitars and has a mid-paced feel overall. The pace increases slightly at 0:37 before launching into Blast beats at 0:49 and then once again slows going into the chorus. It’s definitely a worthy finishing track to the album.
To summarise the album as a whole, It’s classic Killswitch Engage but completely different at the same time. All the classic elements that we know and love are still a massive part of this record. Yet, they are carried out in a different manner adding a new feeling to an already amazing sound.
The slightly tamer songs on the album are still as epic as they were back when “My Curse” came out. In addition, the more aggressive songs have also become heavier in a similar vein to “Declaration”, with more emphasis on the harsh vocals as heard in “Hate by Design”. We absolutely love this album, as fans of metalcore this makes us happy, From Adam D’s signature tone and pick slides to Jesse’s unmistakeable voice, It’s a versatile album with at least one song everyone can enjoy. We highly recommend this album to any fans of metalcore, and even fans of other genre’s.
Standout Tracks: Hate by Design, Embrace the Journey… Upraised, The Great Deceit.
Incarnate is now available via Roadrunner Records.