Editor's Rating

Have a listen to "Strength Of The Mind"

Rating out of 10

Killswitch Engage – Incarnate

Release Date: 11th March 2016
Roadrunner Records

There was so much hype surrounding Killswitch Engage in 2013 when they released their album ‘Disarm The Descent’, purely because of the return of former vocalist Jesse Leach. The album was considered a massive step up from the disappointing 2009 release ‘Killswitch Engage’ – Howard Jones’ final album with the band. Now, after a lot of plugging from the KsE camp, ‘Incarnate’ has been released, so now we have the opportunity to figure out if Killswitch Engage can continue producing the quality of metal they unleashed on ‘Disarm The Descent’.

My answer is yes. Instantly in opening song ‘Alone I Stand’ and even more so in ‘Strength Of The Mind’ you get that trademark KsE sound that they have provided us with for years; the simple factors that make them distinctive remain intact. Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel deliver the ever so recognisable meaty hooks and pinch harmonics that Killswitch are known for along with the fiddly intricate bits that prick the ear. A hooking voice is essential to the traditional KsE sound and Jesse Leach‘s vocals sound as they improve with every album. His range never ceases to amaze, when he can brutally shout and scream with metal’s elite and then unveil his epic singing voice.

That epic singing voice is a key factor to ‘Incarnate’ as a lot of the songs revolve around Jesse‘s impressive vocals. The tone of this album is somewhat more emotional and beautiful while still keeping the heaviness that we all love about the metallers. It’s an evolution that caters to the fans of old while still having the ability to attract new listeners. The quintet provides fans with songs at opposite ends of the spectrum, ‘It Falls On Me’ is possibly one of the most melodic Killswitch songs I have heard. Leach‘s cleans captivate you while the music is used more for atmospherics than to be a traditional KsE pit-starter.

On the opposite end, we have ‘The Great Deceit’ which follows straight on from the softer ‘It Falls On Me’ as a chaos igniting heavy masterpiece. Crushing riffs, ferocious shouts and Justin Foley‘s drums performed with such vigour and relentless energy. It’s a huge mood shift but it works phenomenally and it showcases the various emotions that Jesse Leach and the rest of the band are trying to reveal to us. If there is one thing that KsE are consistent with, it’s that they can create pure metal anthems with each album; ‘Hate By Design’ is without a doubt going to become a metal club favourite. It contains all of the popular factors, the riffs, nice intricate guitar solos and an incredibly catchy chorus for us all to sing along to.

‘Incarnate’ is everything a Killswitch Engage fan can ask for in a sense of keeping to their roots while experimenting and looking to evolve their sound. The band have found a great balance in both which is fairly rare. What does stand out to me is that this album feels like part two to ‘Disarm The Descent’ – the production is almost too similar, whereas on previous albums, such as the gap between ‘The End Of Heart’ and ‘As Daylight Dies’ there is a distinct difference in how each album sounds. That may be the only thing that holds ‘Incarnate’ back a little, otherwise, Killswitch Engage can be incredibly proud of this album.

For fans of: Unearth, Shadows Fall, All That Remains