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Alive or Just Breathing

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Average Rating
★★★★½
(197 Reviews)

Metal Album Reviews See All →

  • If you like Hatebreed, but want something with more melody, look here. If you want Atreyu, with less emo and more punch, look here. If you’re looking for run-of-the-mill hardcore that goes nowhere, bye. You won’t find that here.Killswitch Engage are a mix of bands playing balls-out hardcore/thrash like Hatebreed and Mudvayne, coupled with the clean vocals and soaring guitar melodies of In Flames and Atreyu. There are no solos, and only one song sounds remotely death metal(“To The Sons Of Man”), but if you’re into In Flames and you want more aggression, you’re at the right place.”Sel Revolution,” for all intents and purposes, could pass for an In Flames song. The catchy chorus is much more well-done than In Flames’ choruses, but the melodic riffs and style of growling is unmistakably similar(without being derivative). Vocalist Jesse Leach was amazing on this album due to the juxtaposition of his growling and singing. New singer Howard Jones is equally versatile, but their styles are different, and Leach will be missed. “My Last Serenade” is my favorite song, and has a great riff, coupled with a sick head-banging time change and amazing chorus(also has a cool video). “Numbered Days” kicks you in the crotch and keeps kicking as you’re on the ground, even when the growling stops. The melodic riffs of the title track and “Temple From The Within” are effortlessly catchy, and “Life To Lifeless” has a great rhythmic groove. “Fixation On The Darkness” sounds a bit like Sevendust, and “The Element Of One” and “Vide Infra” have equal parts melody and heaviness. One track is a synth/acoustic lead-in, and aside from the aforementioned clunker in track 07, everything is right as rain. The drummer is very talented(also the producer!), and more praise is to be heaped on the melodic riffs, settling the music between 80’s thrash and the Gothenburg sound, with a distinct American flavor to everything.A great melodic hard/metalcore record worthy of any headbanger’s collection. A band worthy of the acclaim achieved by groups like Linkin Park.

    Posted on February 1, 2010