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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.