Killswitch Engage are back! Ok, they didn’t really go anywhere, but with Jesse Leach once again behind the mic I have to say that yes, they are back.
Don’t get me wrong, the last three albums with Howard Jones weren’t abysmal – though the 2009 self-titled album leaves a lot to be desired. That however, is due to a range of reasons and not a criticism on Jones’ vocals. But we’re here to talk about Disarm The Descent.
The departure of Howard Jones was coupled with a sense of loss from fans, but when the announcement came that Jesse Leach was returning, excitement and anticipation filled every Killswitch Engage fan across the world.
As soon as album opener “The Hell in Me” rips through your speakers, Leach makes a strong return and it’s clear that he won’t be holding anything back. I almost forgot how much I missed the pairing of Leach’s harsh vocals with guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz’s smooth, clean voice. The single “In Due Time” is the perfect example of how well these two vocalists work together.
Killswitch Engage are known for sticking with what works and deviating little from that formula. And depending on who you talk to, it’s both considered a good and bad quality. Disarm The Descent certainly has a lot of elements people come to expect from a Killswitch Engage record, however in 2013 things have become a little more aggressive. Don’t worry though, it’s still a melodic affair, “You Don’t Bleed For Me” and “Always” provide a healthy dose of melody for you.
For me, music holds importance in the memories it conjures. Disarm The Descent has a way of bringing long-gone memories to the forefront of my mind. Two highlight tracks, “The New Awakening” and “No End in Sight”, immediately bring to mind the halcyon days of Alive or Just Breathing. While on a more personal level, “Time Will Not Remain” takes me back to being 14 years old. My friend would bring his discman to school, I would bring Alive or Just Breathing. We would sit at the back of Japanese class, and each have an ear phone in. We wouldn’t talk. We would just sit there. Listening. Taking it all in. Instead of learning the language of another country, we were learning the language of metal. At 14 years old – an awkward age for almost everyone – Killswitch Engage allowed us to get angry, but gave us hope. Almost 10 years later, Killswitch Engage still have plenty to teach me, and “Time Will Not Remain” gives me that same sense of hope I felt when I was a teenager. I dare you to hear the words “none of us should be thought of as anything less than a potential to change the world” and not have a sense of confidence wash over you.
Every track on Disarm The Descent is well-crafted, catchy, heavy and melodic. It’s the perfect come back album for Leach. It manages to return to what has come before, while providing something new. The shredding guitars, chugging riffs, pulverising drums and unrelenting bass is Killswitch Engage in it’s purest form: technical, yet somehow simple.