Has Killswitch Engage gone soft? Maybe. Does it make for a better album? Definitely. On their first 3 albums, Killswitch pounded out a very brutal, very original sounding kind of metalcore. With distorted vocals, blinding fast riffs and well-defined songs, those albums were original, for the time. But it’s now 2006, and the metalcore scene has exploded, and there are multiple bands doing the scream/sing thing, most of them not as well as Killswitch. Killswitch isn’t even as good as Killswitch.
I remember reading a Revolver Magazine a while back, before Killswitch went into the studio saying that they were going to make the most brutal and hardest album of their career. What they’ve accomplished is good, don’t let me tell you otherwise, but it’s nowhere near as good as their first 2 albums. But that also depends on what you mean by good. If you mean good as in sounding like you threw your middle finger up and stabbed me repeatedly in the face then no, it’s not as good as The End Of Heartache.
But if you mean good as in a band continuing to grow and experiment and making a play for a mainstream audience, then yes. This album is damn good. It has all the hallmarks of a Killswitch album, screamed and sung vocals, intricate, always changing riffs and that damn double bass that makes you wanna get up and kill someone.
So in the end, there are 2 ways to look at it. If you’ve never heard a Killswitch Engage album, and this will be your first, definitely pick it up and give it a go. But if you’re a seasoned Killswitch fan, one that’s been around since their debut disc, then be a little more cautious. It’s not a drastic change, but enough of a change to give one second thoughts.