Sun. Sep 15th, 2019

Killswitch Engage – “Atonement”

Leach’s mental health battle is front-and-center on this record. No holds barred, he breaks down the barriers of mental illness, and reassures their listeners that they are NOT alone in this battle, and that you can get help if you need it.

  1. Unleashed
  2. The Signal Fire
  3. Us Against the World
  4. The Crownless King
  5. I Am Broken Too
  6. As Sure as the Sun Will Rise
  7. Know Your Enemy
  8. Take Control
  9. Ravenous
  10. I Can’t Be the Only One
  11. Bite the Hand That Feeds

Metalcore pioneers Killswitch Engage have had an interesting career since their inception. Jesse Leach had originally left the band just before they were due to tour in 2002. This was just a sign of the tumultuous road the band has traveled on, and has not only survived, but managed to thrive despite the adversity thrust upon them. In February 2012, Leach had returned to the band, seemingly refreshed.

In the years between today and his return, Atonement is the third album that has been recorded with Leach. Each effort is stronger than the last, and the band seems to continue with what feels like renewed energy. Despite this, many fans still view Alive or Just Breathing as the seminal KSE album, which they haven’t been able to overcome. Frankly, I think that maybe they have finally surpassed their debut album.

Unleashed, the opening track for Atonement is an appropriate title for what Killswitch Engage is doing with this album. They are tearing down the walls that fans have built up around them by unleashing pent up energy and rage, and combining elements from all their previous albums, and distilling something new on Atonement. The album features a couple of surprising guest vocalists; former vocalist Howard Jones joins Leach on The Signal Fire, which is very reminiscent of Jones’ time in the band, but a refreshing song, nonetheless. Also, Chuck Bill of Testament features on The Crownless King, a powerful and gut-punching number that’s sure to get one’s blood pumping.

Leach’s mental health battle is front-and-center on this record. No holds barred, he breaks down the barriers of mental illness, and reassures their listeners that they are NOT alone in this battle, and that you can get help if you need it. ” You carry this weight trying to cover your mistakes/To make it seem like nothing could ever break you”; powerful words that gives the listener an idea of just how painful mental issues are, and the lyrics continue in I Am Broken Too further spells out to the listener that yes, you might be broken, but you are NOT alone.

All in all, the boys in KSE have created an album that is almost their masterpiece. Maybe it could be, given time for us to digest this powerful, hopeful, and beautiful record.

Final Thoughts

Mental illness is a taboo subject that has been brought to the forefront by KSE on this record. It’s hopeful, uplifting, melodious and an incredible listen. This one will be spinning for me for a while.

Overall

95

Vocals

95

Mix

95