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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Reclamation In Flames -or- Maybe LL Cool J Said It Best
Don't call it a comeback.

Other than Metallica, has any metal band ever been under more scrutiny or pressure to deliver landmark albums with every successive release than Killswitch Engage? Whether it was 'End Of Heartache', the record which had the impossible task of following up 2002's master work 'Alive Or Just Breathing' while simultaniouly introducing the...
Published 21 months ago by Khyron

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars It's "ok" but boy do I miss Howard :(
I'm sorry...but I just cannot get into it. The best word that comes to mind is "insincere". It sounds like the material is kind of "restrained" or something was "taken away"...oh it kind of was...HOWARD. I miss him. I've listened to his new band as well and I just can't get into it. It sounds "unnatural". Neither band actually sounds...
Published 25 days ago by Josh Smith


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41 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Reclamation In Flames -or- Maybe LL Cool J Said It Best, April 2, 2013
By 
Khyron (Pennsylvania) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Disarm The Descent (Audio CD)
Don't call it a comeback.

Other than Metallica, has any metal band ever been under more scrutiny or pressure to deliver landmark albums with every successive release than Killswitch Engage? Whether it was 'End Of Heartache', the record which had the impossible task of following up 2002's master work 'Alive Or Just Breathing' while simultaniouly introducing the world to the aural assault that was Howard Jones; or `As Daylight Dies' which had to duplicate the breakthrough success of its predecessor; or 2013's `Disarm The Descent' which faces the truly daunting task of both righting the perceived shortcomings of their second eponymous record and herald the return of Mr. Leach, Killswitch Engage, arguably the most successful band in Metalcore, seems to be forever behind the eight ball.

Good.

'Disarm The Descent' is a record which seems to have been written with the understanding that it would be perceived as the new standard-bearer; the record that would carve in stone the sonic legacy of Metalcore's banner band, or stand as the line of demarcation between the old guard and the shape of pinched harmonics to come. 'Disarm' has answered the call and then some, and Killswitch have offered a record that will suffer incalculable assassination attempts while it delivers track after track of calculated fury; seemingly unaware of the internet arrows that fall well short of their intended mark. From the opening, bludgeoning guitar chugs and Justin Foley's thunderous, fully automatic double bass on 'The Hell In Me', to the instantly accessible and dare I say catchy hooks of 'In Due Time' and 'No End In Sight', to the slow, even thoughtful anthem of 'Always' or the positively unforgiving metallic assault of 'Beyond The Flames' and 'Time Will Not Remain', absolutely every moment of 'Disarm' feels like a Killswitch record. The pedigree of this album is above reproach.

Credit Adam Dutkiewicz who has resumed his rightful place at the sound board. Just as Unearth experimented with loudness junkie Terry Date on their muffled 'III: In The Eyes Of Fire' before bringing Adam back in for their relentlessly brutal record 'The March', 'Disarm' finds Adam (AKA The George Martin of metal) comfortably back at the helm of the ship; providing clarity and balance where too often there is simply loudness and chaos. Nowhere is this more evident than with the rhythm section of D'Antonio and Foley who simply could not provide a better percussive bed to Stroetzel's and Dutkiewicz's high, clean guitars and Leach's furious vocal spitfires. Each instrument, including Jesse's, has been played and layered with surgical precision, with no one sound ever cancelling out another. No small feat given Adam's and Jesse's shared and multi-tonal screams, growls and clean vocals that create harmony where one should expect to find contemptuous discord.

What many will struggle with while listening to this record is trying to hear the songs with Howard on vocals. Don't bother. Howard Jones' vocals are singular and he is truly without peer in metal. I can offer no higher praise. Should you approach this record longing for the vocal prism that Howard offered on the three Killswitch records he sang on then nothing I can say here will convince you to give 'disarm' the proverbial fair shake. However, approaching 'Disarm' as perhaps a spiritual, maybe even a sonic successor to 'Alive Or Just Breathing' can allow those willing to hear Leach and his searing, tortured screams and honest, soul-bearing clean vocals that seem to have been purposefully constructed for this record. Leach's phenomenal range and nakedly honest delivery on 'The New Awakening' and 'A Tribute To The Fallen' are hallmarks of his style and the songs on 'Disarm' will be welcome additions to the Killswitch canon.

So does 'Disarm The Descent' reach the dizzying heights of that dreamed of world we'll call fan's expectations? That depends greatly on which end of the 'Bands must evolve/Bands must never change' spectrum you find yourself. With this record, Killswitch Engage have solidified themselves as possibly the most consistent (read: formulaic) Metalcore band in the world. Perhaps the addition of Leach on vocals will slake the thirst of those who require evolution from "their" metal bands. For everyone else, however, 'Disarm The Descent' is an echo of the pillars that came before it and a metal album that will stand on its own as a remarkably engaging, if never shocking, recording from this genre.

Guess you`ll just have to wait for that flute solo.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Killswitch Engage on Steroids, April 4, 2013
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I thought about writing a full fledged review. But I decided to keep it short and to the point. I don't even know what to say about this album. This is something else entirely. I'm trying NOT to listen to it 24 hours a day for fear of spoiling the awesomeness. This is something metalcore has been waiting for, for a long time. Don't get me wrong, I love Howard Jones and I await more music from him, but this is Killswitch Engage, this is what they were meant to be.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best KSE album to date., April 20, 2013
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This review is from: Disarm The Descent (Special Edition) (MP3 Music)
I usually don't take the time to review anything on Amazon, but I feel compelled after giving this album a few listens. To put it simply, this album is downright incredible. I personally think it even surpasses Alive or Just Breathing and I don't say that lightly considering Alive or Just Breathing is/was my favorite album of all time. I will admit that I'm a sucker for most everything Jesse Leach does. The man has such passion and sincerity in his voice and I love the positive message within his lyrics. Didn't love Seemless as much as his harder stuff, but in my opinion, nearly everything he has applied his vocals to has been nothing short of amazing. It feels as if he's breathed new life into a band that was slipping into mediocrity.

Don't get me wrong. Howard was an amazing singer. Hell, he was the one that got me into "heavier" metal when I listened to The End of Heartache, which started my progression toward listening to death, black and all other flavors of metal, but when I got Alive or Just Breathing and heard Jesse's growls, screams and especially his melodic singing, I fell in love. Something about what he says and how he says it really spoke and still speaks to me. His obviously deep passion towards the words he speaks and the authenticity with which he conveys those words are a big part of what makes him so marvelous. I've been hoping for his return to heavier music for a while. The Empire Shall Fall was the first gleam of hope in that respect and while that band is extremely awesome, it just wasn't the same as his past with KSE in my opinion. Same went with Times of Grace (and yes I know that Adam D produced and plays in band). I love both of those bands a ton, but they just didn't seem as great as the original KSE to me.

So if you have any reservations about buying this album because of how soft and sort of bland KSE had been sounding lately (I know I did) or maybe even because you liked Howard better, know that this is definitely worth every penny. It's like Alive or Just Breathing with better and faster drums and better vocals since Jesse's range seems to have broadened over the years. Some songs he sounds just like Howard. Other times he sounds like Phil from All That Remains. He can sometimes sound like other great singers while still keeping true to his own style. I was also blown away at the fact that there was a lot of quick double bass and even blast beats. Didn't think KSE would produce a heavier album like this after their last album. They seemed to be moving to the softer side like most heavy bands seem to do as they age and become famous (Cough, Mastodon). So it's nice to hear a band move away from the more commercial, soft stuff and back to being a bit harder and faster. I honestly figured that this would just end up being another Times of Grace album (which wouldn't necessarily have been a bad thing), but I was ecstatic to find that I was completely wrong in my assumption. This collection of songs is their return to their time of grace (sorry, had to be done) while still producing something seemingly fresh with faster and heavier tracks.

So whatever reason you may have for not purchasing this latest album from Killswitch Engage, stop thinking and just get it. You won't regret it a bit. I know I haven't.
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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back Jesse!, April 2, 2013
By 
K. McGinn (Upstate NY, USA) - See all my reviews
It's hard to believe it's been over 10 years since Killswitch Engage released their genre-defining classic, Alive or Just Breathing. Original vocalist Jesse Leach left the band following said album, and the band continued on with vocalist Howard Jones for the next 9 years and 3 releases (it's been 4 years since the 2nd self-titled release!). My own interest in the band seemed to wane after The End of Heartache as the band's material seemed to be getting stagnant and slightly more mellow. When news broke in early 2012 that Howard would be leaving the band and the subsequent news of Leach's return, I couldn't help but be excited for what lied ahead for the band. After all, Jesse collaborated with Adam D. the year prior with the excellent Times of Grace. So, along with undoubtably many others in the metal community, this became one of my most hotly anticipated titles of 2013.

So how does it hold up to expectations? Provided you are not expecting Alive or Just Breathing Part 2, both old and new fans of KsE should find plenty to enjoy here. As I had hoped, the return of Jesse Leach to the band has invigorated them. As I previously mentioned, my own interest in the band had declined to the point of listening to the self titled disc #2 just a few times before I was bored with it. The band seemed to be stuck in a songwriting rut. The riffs were stale, with cookie-cutter choruses that seemed lifeless and uninspired. As I listen to Disarm the Descent, I don't get that same feeling. 2013 Killswitch Engage is firing on all cylinders once again! Much like Soilwork's recent opener, "Spectrum of Eternity", opening track "The Hell in Me" will undoubtably take many aback with it's heavier than expected introduction. This heavier tone maintains for much of the album, flexing a muscle that we haven't seen from the band since AoJB. Some of this stems from Leach's more abrasive and visceral approach (which has held up quite well over time) but that would be an injustice to the riff output on Disarm the Descent. I hear that classic Killswitch guitar tone and lush melodies ("No End in Sight") but played with more fever. "Beyond the Flames" certainly flirts with melodic death metal in it's playfulness, "A Tribute to the Fallen" will suck you in with the addictiveness of the choral riff, and the Iron Maiden-esque gallop of "You Don't Bleed for Me" will put a smile on many faces. The thrashy and frentic pace of tracks like "New Awakening", "All That We Have", and "The Call" will be hard pressed to not pull older fans back to the fold. They even tossed in a number of short solos as well, most notably with "The Turning Point" and "A Tribute to the Fallen", which makes me wonder why they've hid them away in so many past releases. If there is one weak point, it's the length of the tracks, which for the most part stick in that 3-4 minute arrangement and I would love to hear some of these tracke elaborated a bit just to hear them a bit longer (leave 'em wanting more I suppose).

While this is more of a riff-monster of an album than the last record, Leach also elevates it with his return. I've always felt his vocals were a bit more aggressive than Howard's, and he meshes with the sound of Disarm the Descent to the point where you'd never realized he had left the band. His positive lyrics are always a refreshing change of pace from my usual dosage of the standard 'doom and gloom' metal lyrics and this release is no exception. One new addition to the table (clearly taken from Times of Grace) is the harmonization of Leach and Dutkiewicz in the choruses. I absolutely love the way their vocals mesh, and it makes for some exceptional choruses (see "Beyond the Flames", "Always", "Time Will Not Remain" for the best examples). I found the standard 'mellow' song "Always" to be their most compelling since "My Last Serenade", with slightly cliche-yet-touching lyrics and striking chorus. Leach's work on the anthemic closing "Time Will Not Remain" will almost certainly become a live staple, with his lyrics and vocal delivery at their peak.

It's hard not to be excited listening to Disarm the Descent. I didn't realize how much I had missed this band from my rotating playlist. While it will not leave the same lasting mark on the metal community as AoJB, it's a more than suitable spiritual successor. Welcome back Jesse!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disarm your reservations if you have any, April 9, 2013
By 
Michael (FL United States) - See all my reviews
It's been long known that Jesse Leech left Killswitch Engage early on when they were touring behind Alive Or Just Breathing. So I'm sure there's some fans that have certain reservations about him especially after being very accepting of Howard Jones, who unfortunately parted due to his inability to maintain his type 2 diabetes problem. Immediately in the back of my head, I thought Jesse should be coming back. Hearing the first single "In Due Time" for the first time, it kind of sounded like the Killswitch of today, but with Jesse. Sort of like a "best of both worlds" vibe, old and new. They certainly haven't missed a beat. After the somewhat disappointing self-titled record, where they ventured into more accessible territory, Disarm The Descent shows that they've rebounded with even heavier songs. Guitarist and producer Adam Dutkiewicz once again oversaw production while Andy Sneap returned to mixing & mastering for the first time since The End Of Heartache. I have to comment about Andy Sneap. Lately, a lot of people are criticizing that everything he's mixed/mastered sounds "sterile" or he's taken the balls out of the music, or whatever. I've listened to many albums he's worked on: Machine Head, Killswitch Engage, Exodus, Job For A Cowboy, Napalm Death, Chimaira, Earth Crisis, DevilDriver, Kreator, Testament, Trivium, Arch Enemy, etc. Almost everything I've listened to that he's been involved with is perfect, especially this cd. Last I checked he's producing the new Amon Amarth, and he's mixing the new Carcass. Obviously, he's doing something right. Enough about that, get the special edition. It features 4 bonus tracks including 2 live tracks from 2012, and a dvd with the making of the record.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocked and impressed and I absolutely LOVE IT, January 27, 2014
The first thing I thought when I heard that Howard was leaving (medical/personal issues to handle) was an acceptance that the KSE as I knew it was finished. His voice is so powerful and unique and his albums so great, that I really felt sad and couldn't begin to imagine liking the band as much, whatever their new direction. Then the news hit that Jessie was back and it still did nothing for me, since I really was not a fan of My Last Serenade.

I still gave this a shot and HOLY CRAP WAS I WRONG.

Never doubt these guys. The self titled effort before this didn't have staying the power of their earlier albums (after I initially adored it), but THIS album is absolutely incredible and Jessie's voice is so much better now with the mature band that KSE has become. The choruses are amazing, the guitars are astounding (KILLER solos here), and the tracks flow really well together. Jessie pulls off the KSE scream and then sing clean so damn well that it feels like he's been here the whole time. The New Awakening, In Due Time, No End In Sight, hell, EVERY track has something awesome about it - guitars, choruses, etc. You can also put it on shuffle and get excited for what comes up next. These guys are suddenly back on top in a big way and it's awesome. Hats off to Jessie.

I can't say enough about this album. It's been in regular rotation for a year now, and I can't stop listening to it. I haven't said that about any KSE album in a while and that is the best damn praise I can give this sucker. A remarkable achievement and any fan will love it.

The boys are back and better than ever. A MUST.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another killer Killswitch album, August 2, 2013
By 
Teyad "Andreaabs" (Littleton, Colorado) - See all my reviews
The sixth studio album from melodic metalcore pioneers Killswitch Engage finds the band returning to form. This involves Jesse Leach, the band's initial and one-time lead singer, returning to the fold for the first time since the group's watershed-worthy sophomoric 2002 effort, "Alive Or Just Breathing." Therefore, the effort, entitled "Disarm The Descent," makes fans of ex-frontman Howard Jones think twice before saying that that frontman had the better pair of pipes. (Leach's are every bit as accomplished and dynamic. They are plenty soulful, too.) And plus, KsE arrive at the corner of some instrumental growth throughout the record, too. In addition to conjuring up another batch of amazing riffage (some of the best of their career!), six-stringers Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel write and pull-off a handful of emphatic guitar solos, and do so to surprisingly successful effect.

The record opens with a fairly prototypical Killswitch epic. "The Hell In Me" kicks off with a hardcore-derived bellow of "go!" followed by a sparks-spitting deluge of furious, At The Gates-styled riffing and punishing blast beats. This, then, flows perfectly into the tunes melodic choruses, which are so soulful and sweet that they put Soilwork to shame (and even rival the works of vintage Opeth). A brief but nice acoustic intro enters the fray near the end of the track, but a scorching pick slide ensues soon thereafter, thus bringing the bullying thrash back in all of its glory. "Disarm"'s trio of singles ("Beyond The Flames," "In Due Time," and "Turning Point"), are, naturally, three other standout-worthy tracks. The first of the bunch boasts a familiarly catchy and fiery thrash gallop comprised of hot thrash licks and tight, precise, and bruising drums. But the song, of course, makes room for plenty of deliciously clean crooning, cooing. And its melodic choruses are huge enough that they require their own zip code, too! The second song of the bunch is another extraordinarily infectious number that balances blowtorch riffs with more soulful and sweet vocal harmonies. And the very respectable guitar solo (which is very steep and mazy) that is uncorked, here, seems like just the icing on the cake. And lastly, a somber, minor-key melody introduces the final song in the above-named batch. But the rest of the band storm onto the scene with some really, really thunderous riffs and beats. They also uncork another memorable and ripping guitar solo, here, as well -- but this one differs from the ones heard on the rest of the record in that it is surprisingly technical.

Elsewhere, there is an increased hardcore-mentality present on some of the other tracks. Take "The New Awakening," for example. Its distinctly hardcore mentality, straight-forward, heads-down chugging, and tough guy-sounding vocal patterns would not be out of place on a Bury Your Dead joint. The song differs from that band's, however, on account of it featuring some nice guitar harmonies (which help to further its melodic choruses, and make them even more memorable). And it also is highlighted by another guitar solo -- tasty, fiery, and ripping, this just might be KsE's best solo to date! And plus, a track like "A Tribute To The Fallen" sounds similar, as it adopts a heavy hardcore fervor, and is mainly centered around head-banging, pit-stoking, lock-step-unison rhythms and crunching riffs. But in a nod to the band's metal roots, "Tribute" also lets another very respectable solo fly.

"All We Have" is another album highlight, as it is a thunderous and bullying, hardcore-influenced bruisers with whiplash tempo'ing, blasting, and thrash beats that segue into deliciously melodic, harmonic-guitar-aided choruses. The song is also noteworthy for featuring some positively, uh, positive lyrics from Jesse (Leach supply sings lines like "forgiveness is all we have"). Another equally as memorable cut is "You Don't Bleed For Me," which features one of the album's best and most infectious choruses (and when you consider the competition that it is up against, that is REALLY saying something!). And they are all surrounded by more fiery, bone-crunching guitar chugging and bashing skins. But the following song, "The Call," is even more of a standout because it reaches near black/death metal ferocities and intensities complete with scalding, machine gun riffing, and walloping drum blasts. (The drumming is of particular note, here, as it reaches almost mind-boggling levels of hyper-kinesis at times.)

Finally, there is one last group of songs, every one of them very good. "No End In Sight" offsets nastily chugging, abrasively grinding, Pantera-worthy chugging thrash/groove metal riffs with a hook-heavy, harmonic chorus that wouldn't sound out of place coming from the likes of Stone Sour. Killswitch Engage then proceed to flesh out their melodic muscle on the subsequent "Always," a slow-burning brooder, and a piece of entirely cleanly-sung modern rock balladry which finds the bass coming into the spotlight (it features an ominously grumbling bass intro.) But then, the band, of course, rev up the engines once again with "Time Will Not Remain," which finds Jesse screaming "let's go!" over a bed of busy, thrashy picking and pummeling drums.

"Disarm The Descent" defines what it means for a band to return to form. But at the same time, it also shows signs of musical growth and maturity. Hence, it is a mix of both potent old and refreshingly new-sounding material. And it works.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WELCOME BACK JESSE!!!, April 19, 2013
First off, i have been waiting 10 long years for Jesse to make his return, don't get me wrong.....Howard is ok, but i always felt the first 2 albums OWNED and this one picks up where those left off. The 3 albums with Howard just got boring, they seemed to be in a rut and not only that but all the heavy songs lacked ANY melody to make them palletable....then theres the songs they just went almost scrEMO (starting over/take me away). SO this may have been the shot of Adrenaline they need. Plus Jesse can sing live where as Howard has issues replicating his vocals live (listen to the live version of Holy Diver from delux issue KSE album or his cover of Jesse's My Last Serenade from delux issue End of Heartache). So now im pumped to see them live!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!!!, April 4, 2013
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This review is from: Disarm The Descent (Special Edition) (MP3 Music)
Best album since alive or just breathing!! And easily one of the best albums of the year. Killswitch Engage is Back!!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars KsE's best work since, Alive or just Breathing!, April 22, 2014
I have been listening to them for over ten years now, and I must say that every song on this album is unskippable! Unlike most metal bands that repeat riff after riff, KsE keeps things nice, and tight in this album, most of the songs in this record clock in about three minutes, and none of them overstay there welcome (cough St. Anger). I enjoyed all of Howard's albums with KsE, but you can tell that there is a major difference when, Jesse came back into the fold, they just sound more punk, and more metalcore with him back. Now for you guys who miss, Howard Jones he is in a new band called, Devil You Know, they are pretty good. And now onto the album itself, it sounds very raw, gushing with amazing riffs, melodies, drums, harmonies, choruses, guitar solos, and them growls it's good to have you back, Jesse! If I where to recommend songs off the new album to a new listener, I would recommend, The Hell In Me, In Due Time, No End in Sight, and Always, and I'll be seeing them on, May the 4th with, Battlecross, another great band. Anyways a must buy!
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