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Killswitch Engage is a melodic metalcore band from Westfield, Massachusetts, United States.

Their sound mixes crushing riffs, double bass drum patterns, furious screaming-growling vocals and a dash of melodic elements. Their music is heavily influenced by the hardcore music scene. A key feature of the band's sound is the use of complex palm muting, single-note and power chord riffs featuring dual-guitar harmonies, often punctuated with pinch harmonic squeals.

Following the demise of his band Overcast in 1998, bassist Mike D'Antonio trawled the underground Massachusetts hardcore and heavy metal scene in search of a line-up for a new band. In 1999, D'Antonio met Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel, Aftershock's guitarists. Dutkiewicz became the drummer, while Stroetzel remained on guitar. The trio searched for a vocalist and eventually hired Jesse Leach, formerly of Corrin and Nothing Stays Gold. The now four member band took the name of "Killswitch Engage", a name proposed
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KILLSWITCH ENGAGE albums / top albums

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Killswitch Engage (2000) album cover 3.15 | 6 ratings
Killswitch Engage (2000)
Melodic Metalcore 2000
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Alive or Just Breathing album cover 3.97 | 17 ratings
Alive or Just Breathing
Melodic Metalcore 2002
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE The End of Heartache album cover 4.10 | 19 ratings
The End of Heartache
Melodic Metalcore 2004
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE As Daylight Dies album cover 3.20 | 17 ratings
As Daylight Dies
Melodic Metalcore 2006
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Killswitch Engage (2009) album cover 3.90 | 6 ratings
Killswitch Engage (2009)
Melodic Metalcore 2009
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Disarm the Descent album cover 4.28 | 12 ratings
Disarm the Descent
Melodic Metalcore 2013
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Incarnate album cover 4.00 | 4 ratings
Melodic Metalcore 2016
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Atonement album cover 4.12 | 4 ratings
Melodic Metalcore 2019


KILLSWITCH ENGAGE (Set This) World Ablaze album cover 4.00 | 1 ratings
(Set This) World Ablaze
Melodic Metalcore 2005
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Holy Diver album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Holy Diver
Melodic Metalcore 2013
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Atonement II B​-​Sides For Charity album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Atonement II B​-​Sides For Charity
Melodic Metalcore 2020


KILLSWITCH ENGAGE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Killswitch Engage album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Killswitch Engage
Melodic Metalcore 1999
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE My Curse album cover 5.00 | 1 ratings
My Curse
Melodic Metalcore 2006
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Holy Diver album cover 5.00 | 2 ratings
Holy Diver
Melodic Metalcore 2007

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE re-issues & compilations


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The End of Heartache
Melodic Metalcore 2004
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The Arms of Sorrow
Melodic Metalcore 2007
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Melodic Metalcore 2009
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In Due Time
Melodic Metalcore 2013
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Melodic Metalcore 2013
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Strength Of The Mind
Melodic Metalcore 2015
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Define Love
Melodic Metalcore 2016


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Killswitch Engage: Set This World Ablaze
Melodic Metalcore 2005
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Beyond the Flames: Home Video Part II
Melodic Metalcore 2016


KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Alive or Just Breathing

Album · 2002 · Melodic Metalcore
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What is it about Killswitch Engage and their record Alive or Just Breathing that makes them one of the greatest and most important metalcore and New Wave of American Heavy Metal acts? Put simply, Killswitch is one of, if not the first, metal band to temper metal’s testosterone driven aggression with existential and emotional vulnerability. Their music, like their melodic death metal peers and progenitors in Sweden, is uncompromisingly dark and heavy. And yet, on this record, Killswitch made the bold and, to this day still, controversial choice to add melodious emo/pop-punk sensibilities to their choruses and various other passages in the music.

Metal fans, as a population, are notoriously fond of “gatekeeping” and ensuring that only bands that meet their own subjective standard of authenticity get crowned as proper metal acts. This tension between more purely heavy or classical metal and the emotive metalcore sound was definitely perceived as a major fault line between fans in the mid 2000’s at the height of the New Wave of American and Heavy Metal. And while much of the criticism of metalcore’s emo-like excesses is justified, it is impossible to deny the absolute authenticity of this record. Whether its Jesse Leach’s passionate calls for self reflection or the band’s brutal riffage, this is an album that will hit you as hard as any great metal record from the two decades prior.

Still, I can’t give the album a perfect score. While the first four tracks are metal bliss, the latter half of the record does, at times, merely re-tread material already handled earlier on in the record. Despite this, Alive or Just Breathing is still classic!


Album · 2019 · Melodic Metalcore
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2019’s Atonement is the 3rd album since Jesse Leach rejoined the iconic metalcore band, Killswitch Engage. I’ll skip to the end right away and say this album is no disappointment. There are a bunch of new songs fit for any future KSE live sets or compilations.

The sound, performance and production are all top notch. More or less similar in quality to the past two albums. Sonically; it is crystal clear and perfectly produced. As classy as you can get without tipping over into overproduced. The band pound away with the same ratio of aggression and contemplation, and nail it perfectly.

Unusually for Killswitch, there is a guest vocal performance from an outisder, from Testament’s Chuck Billy. They add him over one of the thrashier songs (‘The Crownless King’) and he really suits the music. Also; in contrast to the outsider guest spot, and in a nice mirror to Jesse Leach’s guest vocal performance on The End Of Heartache, during the time that Howard Jones was the singer, now that Jesse is the singer, Howard Jones pops up here for a guest vocal performance, on the track ‘The Singal Fire.’

I’m not just saying it due to the above fact, but the best song on the album is definitely ‘The Signal Fire.’ Next time I see Killswitch I really hope they play it live.

Other highlights include the opener ‘Unleashed’ and ‘I Can’t Be The Only One’ (which I imagine will become a single and a live favourite). I am also rather fond of ‘Know You Enemy’ which channels Dimebag at times in the riffs, and the album closer ‘Bite The Hand That Feeds’ which is arguably the fastest and heaviest one on this album. There’s plenty of new songs to get excited about, and very little if any in the way of filler.

Initially I was a bit sceptical about this album before getting it, as they said it was their most diverse album to date, and then the first song they released from it, ‘I Am Broken Too’ wasn’t exactly a big rager like ‘In Due Time’ or ‘Strength Of The Mind’ or ‘This Is Absolution’ …and I feared that they might be loosing their touch. Luckily the album is not all in that style anyway. And furthermore, do you know what? The more I listen to that song, the more I like it. It may be a bit mid paced and overly earnest, but dammit if that chorus doesn’t sound better and better each time I play it. As long as there are ragers there too, it doesn’t hurt to have a calmer moment to break things up.

Overall; this is a very strong album and a welcome addition to the Killswitch catalogue. If you don’t like Killswitch already, it won’t change your mind, for all the media talk of it being their most diverse album, it pretty much sounds like modern Killswitch and nothing else for the majority of its duration, but if you like modern Killswitch you shant be disappointed, as it is an expertly performed, produced and written modern Killwitch album, and that’ll do just fine.


Album · 2016 · Melodic Metalcore
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Incarnate is the Massachusetts Metalcore band Killswitch Engage’s seventh full-length studio album (or sixth if you count the 2000 self-titled one as a demo, which some people do) and their second since original singer Jesse Leach returned to the band after a three-album absence. It was released in early 2016 and had the very unenviable task of following up their critically acclaimed (and in my opinion amazing) Disarm The Descent album from three years prior.

As with most of the band’s work it was produced by guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz and released on Roadrunner Records; with the same line-up of musicians since their debut (Justin, Joel, Mike and Adam), and the music is a continuation of the same musical formula they’ve been working from more or less since the beginning. At this point, its safe to say you can kind of guess what the album will sound like, at least broadly.

Some fans, reviewers, publications and podcasts that I respect didn’t give this album the strongest reception at the time. A lot of the criticism was either ‘heard it all before’ or else ‘not as good as Disarm The Descent.’ For me, I never find the ‘heard it all before’ issue a problem, if its good its good as far as I am concerned, and this album is definitely good. I am not the harshest critic of music in the world. I won’t just lap up any old crap but I won’t throw a band I love under the bus just for repeating a formula or having one album be especially good doesn’t ruin everything else for me.

There is some variety on the disc and there are occasional riffs and moments that definitely haven’t been heard before from this band. The almost Djenty rhythm on ‘Strength Of The Mind’ doesn’t sound like anything on The End Of Heartache at all, for example. If they vastly changed their sound too far, people would cry ‘sell out’ instantly, so this slow and very gradual evolution while staying within the boundaries of sounding like themselves is for me the best way to go. Its like Motorhead. Nothing on Ace Of Spades sounds like On Parole anymore and there’s plenty on March Or Die sounds nothing like Ace Of Spades anymore either and yet we all know that (say it with me now) ‘every Motorhead album sounds the same!’

Sure; there will always be a few Melodeath influenced riffs, a few Groove Metal and Hardcore influenced breakdowns, a light/heavy change up dynamic, a pinch harmonic here, some very sparingly-used blast beats hidden there. At least one slow track. A clean arpeggio style intro here, a sparingly used death growl backing-vocal there. But hey, that’s what we love about the band to begin with, right? This album is chocked full of great memorable moments. There’s absolutely tonnes of individual parts that catch your attention and make you pull a satisfied face as they slam into that riff or that groove or as that tasty drum fill sneaks in etc. They may have been doing this formula for years but that also means they’ve had a lot of practice getting it right!

Highlights include for sure the three most famous tracks ‘Hate By Design,’ ‘Strength Of The Mind’ and ‘Cut Me Loose’ as well as the very strong ‘Until The Day’ and the opener ‘Alone I Stand.’ If it were just these tracks it would be an absolutely astounding album. I guess there may be a little filler, but overall it is a pretty strong album.

Placing it in the band’s discography, I would agree with the majority of people that it isn’t as strong as Disarm The Decent which is actually my number one favourite album by the band, and it may not be strong enough to count as my second favourite either sure, but it is far from their worst album and far far from any sort of disappointment. Material from this album live is absolutely crushing. Tracks from this album in best-of playlists sit well beside any of the previous material. When anything from this album comes on on shuffle or random it makes me sit up and smile.

Another thing to point out for praise here are the lyrics. I’ve spent the past five years in a really depressing environment, (and especially the past two), watching people die almost every few days, watching people get told they have HIV, watching people in the grips of diseases and cancers that have damaged their brain so much they don’t recognize their own husband’s face, seeing the ravages of addiction on the body and mind and all the horrible health complications from it they don’t tell you about. Just a real swirling vortex of constant human misery. When I bought this album it quickly became my walking to work album for its amazing, positive, uplifting lyrical content. ‘Who can raise you from the fall and save you? Only you. Who can take the pain away and change you? Only you. Gather all your pain and suffering: Turn them into strength and weaponry to overcome the enemy that’s in you, that’s in you!’ – Hard to argue with that! Its great how this album makes you feel inside yourself, as a person. ‘Inspirational‘ is a very cheesy and overblown word to use in a review for a Metalcore album but here it almost seems fitting.

Overall; as long as you aren’t sick of the formula, I fail to see why you wouldn’t enjoy this album if you are an existing fan. If you are a new fan and haven’t heard everything already and so again aren’t sick of the formula, I fail to see why you wouldn’t enjoy this. In terms of ranking and being an amateur critic sure, I can see albums to say it isn’t as good as, but on its own merit it is a really strong, really enjoyable record and a very worthy addition to any fan’s collection. Some of those riffs, some of those breakdowns, some of those choruses will stick with me forever and if like me, you were a bit too put off initially by any of the negative reviews out there to try it right away, rest assured this album is absolutely worth checking out and a really respectable entry in the band’s discography.

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Disarm the Descent

Album · 2013 · Melodic Metalcore
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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.**


Album · 2006 · Melodic Metalcore
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The Massachusetts based Killswitch Engage are one of the best loved Metalcore bands out there at the moment. Its not difficult to see why, with the gigantic riffs, the interesting lyrics and the absolutely fantastic vocals.

Howard Jones quite simply has one of the best voices in metal, an absolutely majestic singing voice and all the furious bark and shout you would expect for the heavy sections. The integration of Howard's outstanding vocals into the band's perfect light and shade formula make Killswitch Engage one of the most vital and important bands out there.

Even on first listen this album grabbed me, straight away I knew it was amazing and every time you replay it, the music washes over you from beginning to end. The band's last three albums, were genuinely brilliant and this is no exception, with a real step up in musicianship and songwriting.

The guitars have never been this fast or technical and the drums are even more powerful and authoritative than before. The band just seem to have kicked up a gear as musicians each seeming to have a more complete mastery of their instrument than on any previous album. The vocals have similarly never sounded better with the vocals on the songs `Arms of Sorrow,' and `This is Absolution,' being career highlights. This also includes Adam D's superb backing vocals which are simply incredible cementing many sections as standout moments.

The sound on the album is all incredibly good, nicely complimenting a good set of very well written songs. Standout tracks include the previously mentioned songs `The Arms of Sorrow,' and `This is Absolution,' which so perfectly encapsulate all that Killswitch do well; heavy in just the right ways, anthemic in the choruses and full of catchy staccato rhythms . Other highlights include the typically immense `Still Beats Your Name,' and the single `My Curse.'

In fact this can be said of every song on the album, the more you listen to it the more you like it, all the clever drum fills and vocal hooks make themselves known and after a few listens the album feels like a real classic. If you like Killswitch you simply will not be disappointed.


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