Killswitch Engage- Incarnate
It's hard to believe that KSE is now 7 albums deep into their career. With some inner turmoil, member switches, the rise and fall of Metalcore come and gone; the band continues to be as stronger as ever with their latest release, Incarnate. While the band is not known for reinventing the wheel with every release, the band is known for putting out solid album after solid album. This album is no different.
The album starts with Alone I Stand. With a brooding intro that fades in, it attacks you with the legendary KSE mix of Metal, Hardcore, and melody. With a verse riff that is "oddly" in 9/8, the band continues to capture everything a fan of the band will love...and everything that a hater of the band will hate. The bridge of the song gets into some awesome breakdown/melodic moments that really helps the album begin to shine. Hate Be Design continues in the same vein as one of the heaviest opening riffs on the album. The verse is completely heavy and melodic with a soothing chorus. Near the end of the song is one of the band's few instances of guitar solos. Cut Me Loose starts with a tribal drum beat and ominous guitars. Oddly enough this becomes a song with minimal screamed lead vocals. This song has Top 40 radio potential all over it, especially in the chorus. The 2nd half of the song brings up a bit of a thrash riff that will bring a great circle pit live. Strength Of The Mind starts with an actually, kinda Djenty, breakdown riff before going into the KSE style Metalcore riffing. The chorus of this song is one of the highlights of the album. Perfect soothing cleans and a great message. Overall, a great song! Just Let go starts with a clean guitar riff in the vein of My Curse before kicking in the doors. While starting off slower, it quickly becomes one of the speedier songs on the album. Drummer, Justin Foley shows off his double bass blasts in the verses of this one and they are unbelievably clean. Embrace The Journey...Upraised starts off with an ultra heavy breakdown riff that is sure to get the crowd going wild live. This has the fastest verse in the album going into hyper-speed. This has a little bit of everything for everyone with it's breakdowns, speed and melodic choruses. The song fades out and leads way to Quiet Distress. The song starts with an acoustic guitar passage before going into a ballistic verse that simply destroys everything in it's path. The chorus brings way to a slower, yet uptempo moment. A great mix of thrashy and melodic. Until The Days once again brings in the Thrash mentality, specifically in the guitars. This is definitely a throwback to the beginning of the Metalcore days. A short and sweet kick in the face. This leads into It Falls On Me. A slower song for the band that is prominently beautiful in the music and clean vocals, yet, ferocious with it's growls. The atmospheric guitars really make this song one of the stand outs on the album as, to me, that was the best aspect of the band's last release, 2013's Disarm The Descent. The song quickly fades and leads way to the Thrash laded song, The Great Deceit. A very straight forward attack in the verses and one of the best choruses on the entire album. We Carry On brings in The End Of Heartache era of the band. Very slow and brooding, yet so melodic and catchy. Once again, the atmospheric guitars make an appearance in the chorus and make the song that much more special. A great slower song that is a great way to lead into the final track, Ascension. The song starts off perfect KSE form and, again, brings things back into the bands early sound of ...Alive Or Just Breathing. One big difference is in the per-chorus, it features Justin's use of Blasts (almost like a bookend to the album as the only other song to feature blasts is the opening track). The song ends on an ultra heavy breakdown riff and slowly fades away into the abyss.
There is no denying that Jesse Leach brings the inspirational moments to Killswitch Engage that helped make the band become legendary. A very positive message throughout the album, one that people with depression (like myself) can really relate to. Beyond catchy riffs, memorable melodic riffs, ultra tight musicianship from everyone involved. Incarnate is what you want, need, and crave in a KSE album.
Killswitch Engage- Incarnate is out NOW via Roadrunner Records
Darkest Hour has been one the underground Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore bands that most recognition for 2005's Undoing Ruin and 2007's Deliver Us (both produced by Devin Townsend by the way). The band has been going strong since 1995, and they are continuing on with their 8th album, their self titled album, Darkest Hour. This is their first album for Sumerian Records and the first to feature bassist Aaron Deal and drummer Travis Orbin. it is safe to say with this album that they are hitting some new genre territories they have yet to explore.
The album starts with the song, Wasteland. It already starts off heavier than most of their past material for their use of downtuning and 7 strings which makes it's first appearance strongly in the band's history. The song has that heavy chug sound (some call it Djent) but the song carries itself in the way any Darkest Hour song would. Strong clean choruses, fast riffing and fantastic soloing. Next is the shortest song on the album, Rapture in Exhile, which just blows you away from the second it starts. Fast, thrashy, and HEAVY! The Misery We Make comes up next and oddly enough, it does sound very commercial. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it definitely is a song that could fit well on Top 40 Hard Rock Radio (IF they are ok with clean vocals with an occasional scream for emphasis. If All That Remains, In Flames, and Demon Hunter can be, Darkest Hour sure can as well. Up next is Infinite Eyes. It starts off with a very grand sounding guitar riff before going into some nice Melodeath riffing. The solo on this one is one of the finest solos on the album. The whole song has a nice faster midpace feel to it, a nice driving sound that Darkest Hour always seems to achieve with ease. Futurist follows up and oddly enough it is another song that could easily fit in Top 40 Hard Rock Radio. Very minimal use of screams and focuses on a style of poppier clean vocals that isn't normally heard in the band. The Great Oppressor comes in charging and heavy. It features on of the best choruses in the album. It's quite reminiscent of the faster songs of In Flames. Anti-Axis is next and again it features a downtuned chug throughout. Djent fans would really appreciate this one. The chorus is quite catchy. Unlike most Darkest Hour songs, instead of a solo there is a Breakdown section that may catch people by surprise. It's not until the last few seconds of the song where you hear a guitar lead, so that can count as a solo. The album takes a mellow, but very tom heavy approach in the next song, By The Starlight. The song features DRÆMINGS on background and shared main vocals. Toward the middle of the song it picks up a bit with distortion and double bass, but ends with a very ethereal vibe. Lost For Life pummels it's way next and it is a killer thrashy song that is relentless. Short, thrashy, and sweet. The Goddess Figure comes up next and is a nice midtempo number to start off with then gets fast and thrashy. It also features one of the best choruses on the album. Beneath The Blackening Sky is classic Darkest Hour. Much like a song that would fit in Undoing Run or Deliver Us. Hypatia Rising starts off with a nice acoustic riff with the heaviness in the background in a cool Classic Metal vibe. When the song fully kicks in, again, it is classic Darkest Hour. A great blend of Melodeath and Metalcore. The final track is Departure. It starts off with and orchestral section then leads into clean vocals and riffs that match well with the more poppy songs on the album. This, once more, can fit quite well on Top 40 Hard Rock radio, but as a 2nd or 3rd single, after the band gets more established to that audience. The orchestral parts continue on through most of the rest of the song as does the clean vocals being the main choice for style. The song ends much as it began as the orchestra fades away.
As mentioned before, Darkest Hour hits some new territory on this album, and if marketed right, this very well could launch them on mainstream radio. This may discourage some fans, and may encourage even more. Overall, Darkest Hour put out another solid album and only time will tell as to where this could lead them in the future.
Darkest Hour- Darkest Hour Available August 5th via Sumerian Records
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)