Killswitch Engage are a melodic Metalcore band from Massachusettes, and Disarm The Descent is their fifth full-length studio album (sixth, if you count the band’s half-hour self-titled debut effort from 2000).
It was released in 2013, following-up 2009’s self-titled record. It was produced by the band’s guitarist, backing vocalist and former drummer Adam Dutkiewicz and mixed by Andy Sneap. Like most of the band’s releases, the artwork was handled by bassist Mike D’Antonio.
After three albums with Howard Jones in the lead vocal position, Disarm The Descent sees the return of the band’s original singer Jesse Leech, who had last held that position on 2002’s Alive Or Just Breathing album, (although he had periodically turned up in guest appearances, live shows and side projects in the intervening years)
The album opens up with blasts and angular Swedish sounding music, like some of the band’s earliest work, but soon returns to the sound that you’d expect from the band at this stage in their career. They are one of the genre’s pioneers and over their career have developed an easily identifiable signature sound, that makes a welcome return, however the band seem to have attempted to bring back a bit of the bite and edge of their early days to avoid sounding too polished and smoothed-down.
The album runs a lot of the same course that the band have covered before. Throughout the record, there are triumphant sounding lead guitar lines, flashy solos, crunchy breakdowns and a mixture of precision riffing with uplifting melodic moments. There’s the fast, spidery touches and hammering double kicks on ‘New Awakening,’ there’s a slower moody moment with ‘Always’ and there’s the aforementioned blasts and Gothenburg influences on tracks like ‘The Hell In Me’ and ‘All That We Have.’
The lead single ‘In Due Time’ is a good taster of the album as a whole. Most of the elements that the album covers are present to some degree or other within its duration and it gives you a good measure of what the band and Jesse sound like at this moment in time, which in a word would be “revitalized.”
One area in which the album really shines is in the lead guitar work. Its seems like an extra special effort has gone into making impressive sounding guitar solos, and making them in large numbers. The vocals are also noteworthy. Extra care and attention has been put into the layering and combination of differing varieties of screams, shrieks, growls, shouts and singing.
While the record still sounds unmistakably like Killswitch Engage, most of the music on the album is in the higher end of the tempo range that the band work in. Its main mode is ‘fast,’ and this combined with the studious approaches to lead guitar and vocal layering give the album its unique selling point among the rest of the band’s catalougue.
Album highlights include ‘A Tribute To The Fallen,’ ‘No End In Sight’ and ‘Time Will Not Remain.’
Overall; If you want a collection of brief, punchy, Melodic Metalcore songs then you could do worse in 2013 than checking out Disarm The Descent. Its consistent, it sounds great and it delivers exactly what you want from the band with a slight twist and the right kind of energy.
**Oh, and if you found this review by search engine, when you discover it again on Amazon it is me posting it. It hasn’t been copied and pasted off here by a stranger, I post my reviews on Amazon as ‘Gentlegiantprog “Kingcrimsonprog.”’ So please don’t unhelpful-vote it because you thought it was stolen from me.**