KILLSWITCH ENGAGE - Disarm The Descent [Review]

Release date: April 2nd, 2013
Genre: Metalcore
Label: Roadrunner Records

Rating: 9/10
Reviewer: Moe Ezz

Today, metalcore is a tired formula that's been bastardly rehashed through the depth of hell.
It takes a band with excellent musicianship to craft a record tied to the genre with a fresh take, and if there is any one band that is capable of proving that Metalcore still has something new to offer, it would be none other than Massachusetts' titans, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE.

I'm a big fan of Alive or Just Breathing. The record introduced me to the glorious wave of Gothenburg this day whenever I listen to it again, it still lives up to the first time. It's raw, heavy, dirty, pissed off, and catchy as hell.

Following the album's release in 2002, Jesse Leach decided to part ways with the band due to personal issues and not being able to cope with being on the road all the time. The band would later recruit Howard Jones to join the fold as their new front man, with whom they would release 3 highly successful albums (with "The End of Heartache" earning them a Grammy nomination for "Best Metal Performance").

But with all those accolades, I was still one of the many fans that always wanted to see the band reunite with Jesse Leach, and continued to follow his work; from the blues driven Seamless, to the politically provoking, The Empire Shall Fall, Jesse seemed to have a drive to produce hard hitting, emotionally charged music that would span across a wide variety of genres. (We've even had the honor of featuring the track "Lords of War" by TESF on our first compilation, with the permission of the band).

In 2011 Jesse Leach reunited with guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz to release a new album, under the name, Times of Grace, which was received extremely well by fans. The band's debut record reflects the dark times that Adam D. went through after being hospitalized due to an emergecy surgey on his back during a tour in the UK. 

After it was announced that front man Howard Jones would split from the band. A wave of speculations and rumors started flying around the internet on whether or not Jesse Leach would rejoin the band. After sometime, without any introductions, the band posted this photo to their official site announcing the return of Jesse Leach.

Disarm the Descent has a lot to live up to definitely, but if you're going to play the album for the first time with unrealistic expectations, waiting for the record to literally grab you by the throat and chokeslam you through the concrete ground, you'd be a little far off. While the album is pretty close to achieving that. Disarm is in many ways the band warming up after many years of working with other people, but overall, the record is a classic Killswitch Engage neck-bender.

All the vintage ingredients of a solid Killswitch Engage album are present on Disarm the Descent, from big hooks, catchy choruses, to intricate drum work and fiery riffs; topped off with an exceptional vocal performance by Leach (listen to "Always" to find out  how varied his vocal range is on Disarm).

Songs like "A Tribute to the Fallen," "The Turning Point" "All That We Have" and "Time Will Not Remain" are made to start pits. The album is charged with energy, drenched in technicality. Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel show no mercy on Disarm the Descent and will rip your senses apart with spine shattering guitar work through out the release (listen to "The Turning Point" for an amalgamation of melting solos)

The band's songwriting shines on Disarm The Descent, something that was starting to fade with their 2009 self-titled release.

Killswitch Engage seem to be in the right mindset, the music seems to be naturally maturing into a great form, which doesn't compromise their heavier side. The band is once again writing the blueprint that will be copied by all clone acts in the years to follow.

Overall Disarm the Descent is a solid metalcore album by one of the genre's flag-bearers. The effort marks the return of the original line-up, and if they continue down this path, one can only imagine an even bigger record next.

A highly recommended listen to all KSE fans, fans of the genre and to anyone curious to hear how Jesse Leach sounds after returning to the fold.

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