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Killswitch Engage - End of Heartache

2004 Roadrunner Records :: Reviewed by skeksis on 2005-08-05

By now, you probably have an opinion of this band, one way or another. And given that more than 400,000 of you 'bangers out there bought this record, than either that means alot of you out there either like this band or somebody in the marketing department at Roadrunner is doing a bang out job. Stupid album title aside, this record got permanently wedged into my CD player because its still there. Its that good, and hype aside, if you don't own it, your missing an essential release. "The End of Heartache" marks the debut of new singer Howard Jones and stickman Justin Folwy (both ex-Blood Has Been Shed) and do a commendable job of filling in for their replacements. Personally, I prefered, albeit ever so slightly, previous vocalist Jesse Leach (now in Seemless). Its the little nuances that made me prefer one to the other but I digress, its a moot issue at this point as Howard fills those shoes like he owned it from day one. Songwriting this time around sees the band ever so slightly slowing the pace down and focusing more on the sonds themselves, making them more catchy, and yes, even a bit more radio friendly. Now thats not saying that they've sold out or softened. EotH simply finds Killswitch more focused and polished. And damnit, if songs like the video singles Rose of Sharyn and the title track don't imbed themselves into your cranium...permanently. But the whole album is just about damn near perfect, every song catchy and memorable from start to finish. Ironically the first track to have been released from this record, When Darkeness falls of the Jason verus Freddy soundtrack is probably the weakest on the record. Production is just near perfect (courtesy of
Andy Sneap and guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz), eveything blasting through with clarity and power. Unfortuantly Killswitch get lumped in with the dreaded metalcore tag, given of where they come from (Massechsets, like Shadows Fall) and there are those breakdowns, but of the current wave of metal bands, Killswitch tends to be more emotive without sounding so damn EMO. One complaint, no leads. I guess we can leave the lead playing to Shadows Fall though. Still, regardless of genre, this record will undoubtly go down as a classic, influencing countless bands to come. One thing to avoid is the remix of the title track on the Resident Evil 2 soundtrack, as that version has all the damn growling/screaming edited out to make it more palatable. Ugh. Essential in my opinion. This record and the past two as well.

Killswitch Engage - [Set this] World Ablaze DVD

2005 Roadrunner Records :: Reviewed by skeksis on 2005-12-09

The band that said they wouldn't release a DVD because it's gay gets their foot stuck in their mouth and release a DVD. Even though KSE have released a scant two and a half albums thus far (with half of their s/t debut being re-recorded for their Roadrunner debut 'Alive of Just Breathing'), of any of the metalcore bands out now KSE is certainly deserving of the success they have achieved. And if any of those bands should be captured on celluloid, it's KSE. Let me start with this, this has got to be the best metal DVD I've yet come across as far as packaging, presentation, and content go. This is simply how it should be done; give the fans the most for their money. 'World Ablaze' contains over 75 minutes of live footage filmed at Worchester's Palladium, the bands five videos thus far, and probably the most entertaining and down right hilarious band history and back stage and studio scenes containing interviews with not only the band (and parents!), but also members of Shadows Fall, Lamb of God, Slipknot, As I Lay Dying, Unearth, Chimaira, Soilwork, Mastadon, God Forbid and many more. The DVD is seriously worth the money alone seeing Randy Blythe do his best Adam D. impersonation! The live footage sees the band touch upon songs from all three releases, and every fans favorite song the band has is contained here. No wanting for missing songs at all. Sure, the sound is dubbed, but heck, who wants to watch a DVD with shitty sound? Live, the band kill, with the exception of Adam D, who chose to don hot pants and a cape and proceed to demolish every metal stereotype known to headbangers the world over. Vocalist Howard Jones nails the vocals while Adam D shows that besides making an ass of himself on stage, he can belt out a tuneful chorus just a good as a growl that would shame any death metal vocalist. Co-guitarist Joel Stroetzel holding down the guitars with ease while bassist Mike D. shows what a metalcore Steve Harris might be like on stage. Drummer Justin Fowley nails all the beats the previous drummers laid before him, all the while playing a refreshingly minimalist kit when other metal drummers are hidden behind theirs. Kudos to the band for also not having ADD with the camera shots and spending just the right amount of time on each shot before switching to another. The most entertaining thing and refreshing thing as well is the camaraderie that all the bands that are interview have with each other and the scene as a whole. No attitudes here, just good friends having a good time while supporting each other. While the bands detractors are legion, as are their fans, when you realize that this is a band that basically arose from the ashes of Aftershock and Overcast, as well as containing and contributing members of and to Shadows Fall, Red Tide, Seemless, and Blood Has Been Shed, as well as being grammy nominated to boot, I can think of no other band that so richly deserve the success they have achieved. Plus add the fact that the band come across as genuine friends and eschew every metal stereotype there is, it's no wonder they've sold what they have while still keeping the respect of their peers. Even if you hate this band, you would get a kick out of the bonus section. By far and large, the best all around DVD I have purchased in a long fucking time.