Killswitch Engage - Atonement review



Reviewer:
6.9

81 users:
7.25
Band: Killswitch Engage
Album: Atonement
Release date: August 2019


01. Unleashed
02. The Signal Fire [feat. Howard Jones]
03. Us Against The World
04. The Crownless King [feat. Chuck Billy]
05. I Am Broken Too
06. As Sure As The Sun Will Rise
07. Know Your Enemy
08. Take Control
09. Ravenous
10. I Can't Be The Only One
11. Bite The Hand That Feeds


As arguably the biggest name in one of the more divisive/maligned categories in metal (melodic metalcore), it's likely you already have an opinion, one way or another, about Killswitch Engage. This album is unlikely to do anything to revise any negative sentiments, but should mostly satisfy those content with a continuation of their recent work.

Although the early albums with Jesse Leach had a rough, unpolished edge that showed off the band's punk influences, the music released since Leach re-joined the band has persisted with the more polished and melodic approach that defined the Howard Jones era, to the extent that the song Jones (now of Light The Torch) cameos on, "The Signal Fire", could easily have appeared on any of his records with the group. Probably the only disappointing aspect of this guest appearance is that Jones delivers purely screamed vocals, instead of any of his rich cleans. Similarly, Testament's Chuck Billy uses only his Demonic-era gruff vocals on "The Crownless King", instead of any of his characteristic thrash yelps. Thankfully (or unfortunately if you prefer his rough earlier efforts), Leach has only continued to grow with his vocals, delivering arguably his most refined cleans and screams to date on Atonement. That aside, this is a clear continuation of the explosive reunion album Disarm The Descent and its effective but safe sequel Incarnate.

There is the odd moment or element on Atonement that is either new or rare for Killswitch Engage, most notably the tremolo patches that get whipped out on "As Sure As The Sun Will Rise" and vicious closer "Bite The Hand That Feeds", as aggressive a final track as I can remember from the band. However, for the most part this is all familiar territory that is explored on Atonement, with all the familiar components in play, including groovy and/or chuggy verses with screamed vocals, big hooky choruses, occasional breakdowns and tasteful lead guitar flairs to accentuate certain songs or moments. As such, the merit of the album lives and dies on the effectiveness of the songs.

On that front, Atonement generally delivers, particularly in the first half. The aforementioned guest vocal tracks are amongst the best on the album, with memorable choruses and decent verse riffs. Additionally, "Unleashed" makes for a solid opener, a somewhat slow-burning brooder with some meaty guitar chugs and effective vocal interplay. Add in the lightweight-but-pleasant single "I Am Broken Too" and the upliftingly catchy "As Sure As The Sun Will Rise", and the first half hits most of the right notes. However, whilst not completely collapsing, the second half fails to fully sustain this moment, with "Take Control" and "I Can't Be The Only One" standing out as weaker tracks. "Ravenous" and the aforementioned title track add some needed energy, but this late-album decline prevents Atonement equalling Incarnate or competing with Disarm The Descent.

This was arguably an excessively long review to state that this is more of the same from a band with a clearly established sound, particularly given the brevity of the record. Ultimately, Atonement is an adequate and enjoyable album from a band clearly content not to shake things up, but is unlikely to go down as a late-career highlight for Killswitch Engage.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 5
Production: 8


 



Written on 29.08.2019 by I'm just a guy with an opinion.


Comments

Comments: 5   Visited by: 75 users
29.08.2019 - 19:18
Kuroboshi
I thought it was a really good album! Nice riffs and good vocals. One of the first times I actually enjoyed a KE album. I've enjoyed particular songs before, but this was good through and through. Not something to go crazy over, tho.
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30.08.2019 - 01:04
musclassia
Written by Kuroboshi on 29.08.2019 at 19:17

I thought it was a really good album! Nice riffs and good vocals. One of the first times I actually enjoyed a KE album. I've enjoyed particular songs before, but this was good through and through. Not something to go crazy over, tho.


I like the album for sure! I must've listened to it a couple dozen times on spotify in the last fortnight, and I didn't find myself bored of it, I feel there's plenty to like here. However, at the same time, I found myself looking at the previous records, particularly Disarm the Descent (which may well be my most played album since its release, and I don't care how that reflects on me), and I just didn't feel it had the strength in depth that the previous records had. Maybe time will strengthen it's hand, but after 2 weeks, as much as I liked it, I started thinking it would be an album I played only when I wanted KsE but wasn't in the mood for their other albums.
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30.08.2019 - 06:47
flightoficarus
Stamp Tramp
Hard disagree on this one. I'd honestly put it in their top 3.
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31.08.2019 - 08:54
Ace Frawley
The Spaceman
I find this an incredibly enjoyable album to listen to. Extremely catchy songs. Think it will have a short shelf-life but fun whilst it lasts. And in a few months or years, I can always pick it up again and have some fun.
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The sun shines over The Fool...
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31.08.2019 - 11:10
musclassia
Written by Ace Frawley on 31.08.2019 at 08:54

I find this an incredibly enjoyable album to listen to. Extremely catchy songs. Think it will have a short shelf-life but fun whilst it lasts. And in a few months or years, I can always pick it up again and have some fun.


Yeah I enjoy it, I spun it a lot before writing this, but I found myself generally starting to lose interest after track 6 (although Ravenous and the closer are good). I'm sure I'll go back to it quite a bit but doubt I'd generally choose to listen to it over the previous two albums (maybe time will see me holding it above Incarnate).
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