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Killswitch Engage: As Daylight Dies

It's great when you see a band really "getting it" and focusing on what they do best. In the case of Killswitch Engage, that is combining melody with brutality, something they really hinted at with 2004's The End of Heartache, but have fully realized on the brand new release As Daylight Dies. Not content to just be another in a line of zillions of metalcore bands, Killswitch Engage have morphed into a brutal metal machine that can churn out brilliant thrash arrangements and killer hardcore breakdowns with the best of them, but their sense of mixing in memorable melodies and arresting headbanging arrangements is really quite amazing. Much of this is due to the marvelous vocal delivery of Howard Jones, who joined the band for their last album, and has really come into his own here. His clean vocals are heartfelt and emotional, his growls and screams terror inducing but clearly enunciated. When he throws both into each song, as he does throughout much of As Daylight Dies, the results are quite engaging.

Of course, it wouldn't be a solid metal album without some killer guitar work, and Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel provide plenty of 80's styled metal licks and brutal hardcore riffage. Songs like "Still Beats Your Name", "Eye of the Storm", and "This Is Absolution" pummel with intricate and brutal thrash guitar riffs, while the rhythm tandem of bassist Mike D'Antonio and drummer Justin Foley pound away furiously. The key though is the memorable quality of these songs. Tunes like "The Arms of Sorrow", "My Curse", "Unbroken", and the killer title cut just soar with mighty, melodic intent, fueled by crunchy guitars and Jones with his hate filled growls and passionate clean vocals. Of course, if you want a song to rev your body up for a trip to the mosh pit, look no further than "Break the Silence", a real kick ass number sure to incite plenty of violent excitement. The band even throws in a Gothenburg styled melodic thrasher called "Reject Yourself", complete with alluring melodies and intricate guitar parts.

Most of the songs here just scream to be played on the stage with the crowd fist pumping along and shouting along to the many memorable chorus' that are abundant throughout the CD. Sure there could have been more guitar solos (if you've seen the band live you know they can rip), and some could say that the band is sticking to close to a tried and true formula, but hey, it works, and they have really refined that formula here. The end result is one killer, melodic, and heavy, metal album. 'Nuff said.

Track Listing
1. Daylight Dies
2. This is Absolution
3. The Arms of Sorrow
4. Unbroken
5. My Curse
6. For You
7. Still Beats Your Name
8. Eye of the Storm
9. Break The Silence
10. Desperate Times
11. Reject Yourself

Added: October 10th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Killswitch Engage Website
Hits: 5601
Language: english

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Killswitch Engage: As Daylight Dies
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-02-05 16:46:56
My Score:

I am sure that it is safe to say with a level of certainty that Melodic Metalcore bands such as All That Remains, Burn In Silence, 36 Crazyfists and a laundry list of others all owe respect and a debt of gratitude to Killswitch Engage. The debt is based on KE's contributions via their music and all their efforts on behalf of Heavy Metal as a genre as a whole. It was Killswitch who made it clear that both the intensity that you find in Metalcore and the traditional melodies in conventional Metal could, and would be able to work together with a bombastic result. As Daylight Dies is the bands fourth endeavor and the second album for singer Howard Jones who really seems to be a perfect fit for the group by now based on what you will hear presented on the CD. With this release, the group shows why they continue to be the undisputed masters of this Metal formula for so many years. There is no shortage of brutal aggression and you will find this prominently displayed on "Unbroken" where Jones rails against the world in anger only to break into the melodic parts with seeming ease and perfection. Tracks like opener "As Daylight Dies" and "This Is Absolution" remind you that you are listening to professionals who have really grown into their role as a leader for this brand of Metal. The success that they have achieved over the past few years have really given the form a massive push ahead of all the rest and with every tune on the new record you can see why they have become so influential in this kind of sound. As the future is stepped into, the band chooses not to rest on the laurels of success and we find the new album once again taking the band in a venture ahead to new ground and focusing a little more on the melodic side than they ever did before. If you are one of those fans who wanted this release to be a non-stop brutality fest then you might be a little dismayed but you should be aware that the use of melody does not mean that they have grown soft by any stretch of the imagination. This is actually a very killer album and I expect that when its numbers come back that it turns more people onto the group than it does turn off. In Metal, the only constant is change and since they deal with so much in the way of competition, I am glad to see Killswitch opting to once again lead the charge instead of following in the path of anyone else.

There is a lot of similarity to what they did on 2004's The End Of Heartache in the way that melody was given a lot more room but again this still provides you with many intense and dynamic numbers. One of my favorites is "Still Beats Your Name" which is a throttling drum song with Justin Foley keeping the kit begging for forgiveness. They are pushing the track "My Curse" a lot so this will be one of the favored numbers in the live sense. The twin guitar attack of Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel reminds you that this is a Metal band first with some truly excellent riffing that owes a lot to old school Thrash at times. As the CD nears its finish, you get "Reject Yourself" which closes out the release with a punch that is as hard a hit as only Killswitch Engage can deliver. This is a recommended release and brings a lot to the listeners. Lyrics and a few photos are featured on the foldout insert. It seems that As Daylight Dies, the power of KE grows all the stronger.

And now for some thoughts on the Special Edition version of this same release:

As they have been doing with certain regularity these days, Roadrunner Records gives a release about a year and then issues a special edition that comes with bonus tracks and a DVD of some kind. It's a great treat for the hard core fan of these bands but it makes me wonder why it isn't released like this in the first place sometimes. The KSE special edition of "As Daylight Dies" adds four powerful tracks onto the original release and none of these songs are throwaways by any stretch of the imagination. "Be One" totally floored me in its power and there was a section during "Let The Bridges Burn" that was borderline Norwegian Metal based on the blast beat drumming and riff that connected sections of the tune together. "This Fire" had a mixture of Groove Metal and portions that reminded me a little of a Lamb Of God riff before the well-known vibe of KSE kicked it into gear. The extended edition closes out with the bands rendition of the classic Dio tune "Holy Diver" and I REALLY enjoyed their take on this incredible track. They don't completely rework it, but instead do a more traditional intro to it before giving it a KSE makeover. It's a great mixture of Classic Metal meets the New School of the genre and during this track Jones is on point and showing why he was an excellent choice for the bands lineup. The DVD includes three of their videos: "My Curse", "The Arms Of Sorrow", "Holy Diver" which allows the fans to get their own block of KSE going when the videos on or Headbanger's Ball grow boring. The entire thing is packaged in a fold out digipack and its here that I am finding myself a little annoyed and add my one complaint to the re-issue. I'm one of those sorts who like to leaf through the book on its own and with these last couple of editions this same booklet is glued to the main CD package. It makes it quite cumbersome sometimes. Otherwise this is a great item to look into and as always the perfect excuse to grab the release if you had not done so already.

2004 Sea Of Tranquility
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