Alive Or Just Breathing
Review by Michael on December 8, 2002.
It’s about time! America has some good bands floating around, but I would never push for much more than a ‘good’ rating. As far as anything long the lines of melodic death or thrash goes America just have not had bands up to standard for a very long time... that is until now.
Killswitch Engage have exploded onto the world scene with one of not the best ‘debut’ full length albums I have ever heard. Their sound is an interesting one. Many influences can be heard in their music from melodic death bands like Soilwork to elements of hardcore and traces of old school thrash along the lines of Slayer. The thing that sets this band apart from others is their amazing ability to effortlessly and seamlessly move from some of the most aggressive and abrasive riffs and verses to some of the most smooth, melodic and flowing chorus’ I have had the pleasure of experiencing.
Musically the band are brilliant. Every musician seems to understand the importance of taking a place in the band and doing what is needed, not what they can unlick many bands out there at the moment. The drums sit perfectly, always as technical as is needed and always solid. The guitars and bass together are huge, this album has some of the best recoding and production out there right now which is always a refreshing change. Now to the vocals... what can I say? Howard Jones may well have the most versatile voice in metal at the moment. His range is unbelievable, from low death growls all the way through to black metal screams and to top it off can sing with the best of them. The lyrics are also very strong. Gone are the classic metal theme’s of steel wings and creatures of the night (sorry Rob) and welcome to songs that actually have positive social meanings and directions.
Bottom Line: Killswitch Engage are an amazing band. The sheer force and power of this album is amazing. A must have for the collection.
Categorical Rating Breakdown
Rating: 8.4 out of 10