Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Killswitch Engage - Disarm The Descent (2013)

No one (or at least very few) can deny that Killswitch Engage has become famous and that they have a interesting sound where they can both play heavy metal and more "popier" songs. But one of the band's biggest flaws is the inconsistency. I have yet to find a album by them that holds a constant standard all the way through and I do not think I will ever hear such a album from these guys. Their music is reaching out to two very different fan bases and just like rivaling gangs in a major US city, these fan bases can not for their lives put down their weapons and just talk about their differences (well, at least not without using a lot of curse words, name callings and insulting each others mothers). So Killswitch Engage is trying to solve a conflict that is unsolvable, but you have to admit that the band's stubbornness is astonishing.

"Disarm The Descent" is the band's sixth full-length album and the first album since the 2002 album "Alive Or Just Breathing" with the original singer Jesse Leach who rejoined the band in 2012. And together with Jesse comes a heavier tone in the vocal arrangement that reminds me a lot of Shadows Fall singer Brian Fair, which I welcome. And together with this heavier voice comes a heavier sound which surprised me a bit. Killswitch Engage is well known for their mix of catchy pop tunes and small metal core intentions. So when "Disarm The Descent" had played through my speakers, I had heard a new side of the band. Gone is most of the pop intentions and the band puts the attention instead to the blasting drum beats and the melodies, very much like Shadows Fall.

But just because that Killswitch Engage has put on a heavier suit, I still feel that they have at least one foot in the pop world. Some good examples are "In Due Time", "Turning Point" and "Always" that all have something in them that reminds you of the classic Killswitch Engage sound, which is not good. No, it is when the heaviness takes over that the band is truly impressive. The first "heavy" song is "A Tribute To The Fallen", a song that includes a lot of harsh vocals, Determined drum beats and a chorus that is more than acceptable. Another good heavy moment is the blast beat in "The Call" that almost triggers my headbanging nerve and the chorus is not that shabby as well (even though it is a little soft). The final noticable heavy attempt is "Slave To The Machine". A decent attempt by the band to try showing off their balls, but they come up short and the track is overall a little weak. Could have been a better track if the band had shown some more intensity into the song.

But even though the heavier songs are heavier than 90% of what the band has previously made, you still find small pop intentions in the songs, which bums me out. "Disarm The Descent" is a more consistent album and it directs to one target, but these intentions are enough to scare most of the listeners away.  This also means that "Disarm The Descent" does not have that sharp edge that every great album has since every song has some minor flaw. Most of the songs sounds alright but the high point is not high enough.

"Disarm The Descent" is a big step in the right direction for Killswitch Engage. The band is finally realizing that they cannot work with two different genres at the same time and this realization has given the band's most stable album up to date. There is, however, still some work to do since "Disarm The Descent" is lacking some punch to complete the knock out, but the band is on the right track and hopefully, the next album will complete the transformation to making Killswitch Engage a more consistent band.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Call, A Tribute To The Fallen

Rating: 6/10 Blood Stains

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