Sunday, 3 August 2008
CD Review: The End of Heartache, by Killswitch Engage (2004)
This third studio album was the breakthrough CD for Massachusetts' heavy metal quintet Killswitch Engage. Although the CD has a lot going for it, it also lacks maturity and consistency. The potential is clear; but the package is not quite ready yet.
The word that comes to mind about The End of Heartache is bloated. 12 songs, two of them unnecessary short instrumentals, and another three songs that are just average, and bordering on annoying. This leaves seven above-average and strong tracks, and in the days before bands felt compelled to issue long CDs, these seven songs would have produced a killer CD.
The band's style is straightforward metalcore, with vocals to the front, and not too much reliance on guitar solos. Melodies and song composition and structure are hit-and-miss; too many songs meander in the noisy wilderness with no rescue in sight. Others achieve a cool groove and deliver the goods. There are no classical shadings, but the slower songs and song sections indicate a healthy respect for a variety of tempos.
In the heart of the songlist, Rose of Sharyn, Breathe Life and The End of Heartache can stand proudly with the better metal of the decade. And the CD ends with a flourish, both Wasted Sacrifice and Hope Is... delivering memorable riffs and strong melodies. On these tracks, the band sounds focused, purposeful and tight, full of promise and potential to leap to the next league of successful heavy metal band. It is unfortunate that the CD is weighed down by weak tracks like openers A Bid Farewell and Take This Oath, and fillers Declaration and World Ablaze.
It may do the band some good to work with an outside producer who may be much more likely to take the knife out and cut the fat. On this CD guitarist / vocalist Adam Dutkiewicz is also performing producing and engineering duties, which means that there is no outside voice providing unbiased advice, and it shows.
Mike D'Antonio - Bass
Justin Foley - Drums
Adam Dutkiewicz - Guitars, Vocals
Howard Jones - Vocals
Joel Stroetzel - Guitar
Songlist (Ratings out of 10):
1. A Bid Farewell - 7
2. Take This Oath - 7
3. When Darkness Falls - 6
4. Rose of Sharyn - 8
5. Inhale - no rating (short instrumental)
6. Breathe Life - 9
7. The End of Heartache - 8
8. Declaration - 6
9. World Ablaze - 6
10. And Embers Rise - no rating (short instrumental)
11. Wasted Sacrifice - 8
12. Hope Is... - 8
Produced and Engineered by Adam Dutkiewicz
Mixed and Mastered by Andy Sneap