This new CD from Killswitch shows off the vocals of Howard Jones more than anything else. There is a lot more melodic singing and less brutal screaming than on previous efforts. I really like that they did that because Howard is one of my favorite rock singers and his range is awesome. The usual catchy chorus and screamed verse is definitely still the blueprint here. In that regard, things seem a little too similar. But that’s what everyone likes about Killswitch so it won’t disappoint the fans. I was satisfied.
2009 is poised to be another huge year for Massachusetts’ own Killswitch Engage. They are currently in the studio with noted producer Brendan O’Brien, working on the follow up to their previous two Gold-selling albums, The End Of Heartache and As Daylight Dies. The band, who appeared on the cover of Revolver’s 2009 Preview issue and were praised as having one of the ’Most Anticipated Albums’ of 2009 by both Alternative Press and Decibel, have proven to be a force to be reckoned with in recent years, having co-headlined the Ozzfest side stage, The Warped Tour and Taste of Chaos.
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I’ve been a huge fan of these guys for years. I remember when heartache came out I was literally blown away. But this album just feels contrived. It almost seems like the band was trying so hard to come up with a new sound that the effort burned all their passion away. Too many songs seem noisy with no real clarity. I agree with reviews that say the signature “guitar” sound is completely missing. It just seems too muddy. Howard Jones’ singing is still AMAZING though, and the album is worth it just to hear him belt it out. He’s so good that his singing almost seems out of place in front of the mediocre instrumental work. To the band: What’s wrong guys, are you tired? The video on the enhanced version sure makes you look bored and disinterested. The farting was interesting.
No, they haven’t gone soft. In fact, the album is full of riffs and screaming, but that was never what made KsE particularly appealing. Their insightful lyrics, commanding vocals, and catchy, but aggressive riffs made them a force to be reckoned with. However, this time around, they lack all of these elements. The hooks sound forced, the singing sounds weak, and the songwriting is just plain boring. Their last album wasn’t too great, but this one is even worse, leaving me to believe that the heartache didn’t end in 2004, but began sometime in 2006 and is only getting worse. Let’s just hope that the final track “This Is Goodbye” is not just a song title, but a letter of resignation.
I remember when i first heard As Daylight Dies, I fell instantly in love with it. It was a little different than their previous work, but great none the less.
Now onto their second self titled album. On first listen i was extremely disapointed. Unlike the previous album, there wasn’t any songs that stood out and made me think this is an awesome song. There really isn’t stand out songs. There just seems to be an album full of mediocricy.
After many listens there are a few songs that i like, but there are also other not so great songs. Another problem i have is that some of the lyrics seem to be written by a teenager. In the song “starting over”, which is one of the worst songs on the album, Howard sings “Can we start again, Go back in time to where we started”. To me it just doesn’t sound right at all.
Overall, I think this is their weakest effort and I am not digging the new direction they are going.
I jumped at the chance to pre-orderd this album labeled, “The Most Anticipated Album” of 2009″ and unfortunately I am a bit dissapointed… KSE set the bar pretty high based on their previous outstanding albums. I would give the album a 4 star rating if the production was better. I am a big fan of KSE’s previous releases, The End of the Heartache, Alive or Just Breathing and As Daylight Dies. In fact they are my favorite band in this genre.
I just don’t get the “WOW” factor from this album mostly due to the poor mixing and production. However, I do like “A Light in a Darkened World”, “Lost”, “The Forgotten” and “Starting Over” (the first single). As usual Howard’s vocals are awesome. His range is incredible!
The song writing is good but is not as strong as their previous albums. The production on this album is subpar… The songs sound a bit muddy and the guitars sound muffled. The drumming is excellent but overwhelms the guitar riffs on most of the songs. New producer Brendan O’Brien seems to have eliminated a lot of the strong, crisp & crunchy KSE guitar sound which makes ALL of their previous albums so good.
In summary, anybody who is a KSE fan would agree that this is not their best effort to date. With that being said, this is definitely not a bad album (therefore 3-4 stars) and does have some extraordinary moments.