Killswitch Engage Incarnate CD | MP3 Label: Roadrunner Records
Release date: March 11, 2016
Killswith Engage‘s last album, Disarm The Descent, was a ripping return to form for a band that many had written off as being past their prime. The return of original vocalist Jesse Leach after a nine-year absence was just the injection of new lifeblood that the Massachusetts metalcore pioneers had been in desperate need of. Disarm The Descent was an absolute master class in modern metal that kicked the listener’s ass up one side and down the other. I gave the album a perfect 10 out of 10 and would ultimately go on to name it my favorite album of the year for 2013. The lead single “In Due Time” earned Killswitch a Grammy nomination for “Best Hard Rock or Metal Performance.”
Now, after three years KSE is back with their seventh studio album Incarnate. The question on everyone’s mind is, “How do you follow up a nearly perfect record?” The answer… by somehow ramping up the quality of songwriting and a heavier than ever delivery!
Incarnate consists of fifteen tracks and not one of them is of sub-standard quality. I won’t go into detail on every single track here, but I would like to mention a few of the standouts. The first four tracks of the record alone would be worth the price of admission and each of them is destined to stand head and shoulders with the band’s finest work.
The opener is titled “Alone I Stand.” It starts with a slow burn, but quickly escalates into an ultra heavy anthem of defiance. “Hate By Design” is up next. It’s already been released as one of the record’s singles and with good reason. The song is still very heavy but super catchy. Up next is another single entitled “Cut Me Loose.” A mid-tempo dirge that may be the most menacing sounding thing they’ve ever done. Don’t worry though, it still has the big, trademark Killswitch chorus. “Strength of the Mind” was the first single to be released in advance of the album. It’s exactly the sort of up-tempo bombast that the band is known for and is sure to be a huge crowd-pleaser on Killswitch’s upcoming tour.
Other noteworthy tracks include “Quiet Distress,” “Until the Day,” “Triumph Through Tragedy,” and the over-the-top heaviness of “The Great Deceit” wherein KSE entirely abandon their metalcore template for an out and out thrash song. “The Great Deceit” may just be my new all-time favorite Killswitch song.
For any band to be able to say that they created one album that stands as a genre-defining masterpiece is quite an accomplishment. For a single band to do so three (arguably four) times is nearly unheard of. Incarnate takes its place alongside the band’s previous masterpieces Disarm The Descent, Alive Or Just Breathing, and to a lesser extent, The End of Heartache.
It is a tour de force of a metal album and a loud declaration from a band nearly two decades into their career that they have no intention of going anywhere anytime soon.