By: Tim Grzecki
Killswitch Engage Disarm the Descent 04/02/13
You may not have heard of Killswitch Engage, but the Massachusetts-based band is often credited as being one of the founders of the sub-genre metalcore. And now the band is back with its original singer for their sixth studio album Disarm the Descent.
Killswitch Engage is well-known in the hard rock and metal scene. And if you’re a fan of the WWE at all, you might recognize them as the band that provided CM Punk’s first entrance music “This Fire Burns”. The band has also spent some time in rock radio rotations for its amazing cover of Ronnia James Dio’s “Holy Diver” (if you haven’t heard it you must check it out).
I’m not really a metalcore fan because to me, bands in this genre sound like a mixture of five other bands that all do it better. It’s one of those “I’ve heard this all before and it was better the first time around” type of deals. And unfortunately, Disarm does little to change my preconceived prejudices.
Musically, the drums sound repetitive throughout the album. The riffs sound like a mix of thrash and hardcore with melodic choruses thrown in for good measure. The glaring issue for me however is a lack of groove. Where’s the bass line that draws you in? Where are the rhythms that make you want to move? Sure the songs are heavy and make you want to jump and rock out in a live setting, but there needs to be more if you are going to listen to an album. That being said, I must give credit to the guitar duo of Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel. They sound very tight together and the lead parts work well with the rhythm parts.
Returning vocalist Jesse Leach screams and barks his way through verses, while singing clean on soaring choruses, which is par for the course in Killswitch and metalcore. Unfortunately I found myself thinking, once again, I’ve heard this all before…and better elsewhere. It’s not that Leach is a bad singer, he just doesn’t stand out. Nor is he an improvement over former singer Howard Jones. In fact he’s at least a slight step backwards.
Despite all the negative things I’ve said, Disarm has managed to somehow make an impression. The choruses of songs like “You Don’t Bleed For Me”, “A Tribute to the Fallen”, “The Hell in Me” and lead single “In Due Time” have found their ways onto my interior soundtrack. I find myself playing those choruses in my head from time to time.
It might not be a great listen as a whole, nor is it something I would say you have to check out, but if you find yourself playing the song over and over in your brain, it can’t be all that bad.
Final Grade: C-