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Killswitch Engage, ‘Disarm the Descent’ – Album Review

Killswitch Engage, 'Disarm the Descent'
Roadrunner

Killswitch Engage have returned in a big way — not only with their new album ‘Disarm the Descent,’ but also with original frontman Jesse Leach. The new disc is Leach’s first album with the band since 2002’s ‘Alive or Just Breathing.’

Leach spits venomous vocals right out of the gate on ‘Disarm the Descent’ at the very beginning of the first track ‘The Hell In Me.’ With rapid fire percussion and speedy riffs, the song is complete with an infectious chorus: “Protect me / From the hell that burns inside me /  No one can see / This is the hell in me/ Will you set me free / This is the hell in me.”

Songs such as ‘Beyond the Flames,’ the lead single ‘In Due Time’ and ‘You Don’t Bleed For Me’ all balance aggressiveness and heaviness with uplifting melodies and poignant softness.

‘The New Awakening’ is definitely one of the disc’s most commanding tracks, with chaotic riffs, galloping percussion and heavy bass lines. Halfway through the song, Killswitch unleash their East Coast heaviness by tapping into Hatebreed-esque lyrics: “I would rather die / Than live my life in fear.” Elsewhere, cuts like ‘Turning Point’ and ‘The Call’ are also noteworthy with blistering guitars and pummeling bass and drum patterns.

The choruses on this album will get trapped in your head, as evident on the tune ‘A Tribute to the Fallen,’ in which Leach sings, “You cannot break / This love with hate / A tribute to the fallen / Your choice is made / So go your way / A tribute to the fallen.” On the crushing song ‘All We Have,’ Leach belts: “Forgiveness is all we have / From here as time goes on / Nothing else will give you / A piece of mind.”

‘No End In Sight’ was the first track leaked from ‘Disarm the Descent,’ and Leach told Loudwire at the time, “That song is the weakest song on the whole record. [Laughs] That’s my opinion.” While still a respectable tune, Leach is right in that it does get a bit lost in the midst of all of the other exhilarating tracks.

‘Always’ is a significant and poetic song, starting with the very first verse: “In these moments of love’s adornment / When the vast skies don’t seem to call to you / When the weight of this world bears down / And the stars are falling like tears.” It’s a heartwarming tune where Leach and the rest of Killswitch Engage show off their soft side and display their range with a dreamy sentiment and a melodic chorus: “I am with you always / From the darkness of night until the morning / I am with you always / From life until death takes me.”

The album ends with the track ‘Time Will Not Remain,’ which sums up the album perfectly and contains elements of all of the songs leading up to it. Overall, ‘Disarm the Descent’ will definitely please Killswitch Engage fans with its heavy riffs courtesy of Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel, deep bass lines from Mike D’Antonio and a tornado of drum patterns provided by Justin Foley.

However, if recent fans are looking for a vocalist that sounds like former frontman Howard Jones, they won’t find it on this album. Leach brings a different spin into the mix once again and proves that he has only gotten better with time since ‘Alive or Just Breathing’ and that he is more than ready continue on with Killswitch Engage as their future frontman.

4.5 Stars

Check Out Our Interview With Killswitch Engage Frontman Jesse Leach

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