F U L L . R E V I E W S



Killswitch Engage
Disarm The Descent

Company: Roadrunner Records
Release: 2013
Genre: NWOAHM, Metalcore
Reviewer: EC

  • Done well...still seems dated to a degree



  • Killswitch Engage, One of metalcore's founders, have come full circle with their newest offering "Disarm The Descent". The band parted ways amicably with singer Howard Jones in 2012 and replaced him with the group's first vocalist in Jesse Leach. Jones spent nine years in the camp and contributed to some of the best selling albums in the genre's history. Leach takes over the reigns again for this sixth record and first with his old band mates since 2002. Old fans will recall Leach originally with the group for four years and the first two albums "Killswitch Engage" (2000) and "Alive Or Just Breathing" (2002).

    My first reaction upon the announcement of Jones' departure was complete shock. With that came the realization that the band's sound may change as Jones is such a smooth vocalist. His soulful clean singing could be accessible in any genre and with his departure the band would have a huge void to fill. Speculation was rampant on a singer and Leach is an adequate if not exceptional choice for frontman.

    Four years removed from the group's last album, "Killswitch Engage II", comes a new album that is filled with intensity and aggression, never lacking in a powerful display of double bass, growling vocals and that soaring twin guitar harmony that is the band's signature. Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz once again produces and Andy Sneap (Accept, Megadeth) mixes making this sonically fit in every aspect. The band are represented by Roadrunner Records once more.

    The group's single "In Due Time" is a near perfect example of everything right in the metalcore sound. We get perfectly placed clean vocals layered with growls and a chorus that is surgically clean and precise. "All in due time, see the world through different eyes" shows Leach in a chorus that is sung so well that it borders on Euro progressive (like something Kamelot or the prissy Italians would try), yet powerfully persuasive and secure in its heavier mold. More songs follow that formula, the growling verses, the clean singing and the heavier groove stomp riffs mixed in with layers upon layers of twin guitar. Opener "The Hell In Me" and "The New Awakening" are triumphant anthems, all neatly enclosed in aggressive yet accessible formulas that make the songs addictive and hook happy. "Blood Stains" is furious, one of the fastest songs of the bands career and the needed kick in the face that the latter half of the record needed.

    With the album done well and never too preachy with the positivity it still seems dated to a degree. Bands like Bring Me The Horizon and Bullet For My Valentine have reinvented the genre, adding in everything from hardcore and electronics to atmospheric touches that have not been recreated or attempted stateside. With acts like Killswitch, All That Remains and Shadows Fall the US scene has yet to fully evolve. As good as "Disarm The Descent", and believe you me it is a great record, it still fails to move along or expand the genre's boundaries and limitations. Growl verse, growl verse, clean chorus, repeat, lead and then recycle is not something that needs repeated listens. I challenge the US to somehow move past 2004's "The War Within (Shadows Fall) and challenge the upper echelons of Europe's finer metalcore movement.



    About this Writer:
    Eric Compton // Eric Compton lives in the most haunted city in the world, St. Augustine, Florida with his family and two yorkies. He has contributed to MaximumMetal.com since it's conception in 2003. His reviews, interviews and social commentary has been featured on websites like Brave Words, Blabbermouth, Metal Temple, Metal Rules, Ultimate Metal, Metal Maniacs and Wikipedia. You can also find him on his paperbackwarrior.com blog discussing all things action and adventure.

    Maximum Metal Rating Legend - Click for Full Details
    5 Excellent - Buy it and say a prayer to the metal gods that you were tuned on to this masterpiece. A classic.
    4-4.5 Great - Almost perfect records but there's probably a clunker or a lacking somewhere to keep it from perfection. You won't feel bad about dropping some bones on these.
    3.5 Good - Most of the record is good, but there may be some filler. This is the OK range where you'd search for the record on sale or used.
    3 Average - Some good songs, some bad ones at about a half/half ratio. Could show skills but be dull overall. Redeeming qualities for indy bands are effort and passion. Majors that don't try or suck outright end up here.
    2-2.5 Fair - Worth a listen, but best obtained by collectors. There is much better metal out there.
    1-1.5 Bad - Major problems with music, lyrics, production, etc.
    0 Terrible or an otherwise waste of your life and time.

    Note: Reviews are graded from 0-5, anything higher or not showing is from our old style. Scores, however, do not reveal the important features. The written review that accompanies the ratings is the best source of information regarding the music on our site. Reviewing is opinionated, not a qualitative science, so scores are personal to the reviewer and could reflect anything from being technically brilliant to gloriously cheesy fun.

    Demos and independent releases get some slack since the bands are often spent broke supporting themselves and trying to improve. Major releases usually have big financial backing, so they may be judged by a heavier hand. All scores can be eventually adjusted up or down by comparison of subsequent releases by the same band. We attempt to keep biases out of reviews and be advocates of the consumer without the undo influence of any band, label, management, promoter, etc.

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    ALL FULL REVIEWS FOR: KILLSWITCH ENGAGE
    CD
    TITLE BAND
    DOR
    REVIEWER DATE
    Disarm The DescentKillswitch Engage
    2013
    Eric Compton5/10/2013
    The End of HeartacheKillswitch Engage
    2004
    Frank Hill9/10/2004


    ALL SUMMARY REVIEWS FOR: KILLSWITCH ENGAGE

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