Album Review: Killswitch Engage - Incarnate

7 March 2016 | 12:01 pm | Brendan Crabb

"For all of the frontman's tireless efforts, 'Incarnate' is just a tad too familiar overall."

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"I've seen rock bottom/And I've smashed my fists against it." These Mass-hole melodic metalcore megastars (say that three times fast) have rarely lacked such genuine intent, despite only slightly tweaking their formula.

Jesse Leach-fronted 2002 landmark Alive Or Just Breathing was so undeniable it helped drastically shift the heavy music landscape. The singer's homecoming for Disarm The Descent a decade later spawned a record worthy of their legacy. Strong pre-release cut Hate By Design, complete with crushing riffage, fleet-fingered solo and infectious chorus screamed from the rooftops that Incarnate would tick all the right boxes for a Killswitch Engage record. True to form, the entire project possesses all the smoothness of a well calibrated sports car, even if the urgency isn't as palpable, and the blueprint adhered to.

That said, anthemic hooks soar (although not with the same consistency as its predecessor) and the guitar interplay seems effortless, punctuated by impeccable production. Blistering Until The Day presents singalong value in spades; Quiet Distress' intro recalls side project Times Of Grace. Leach's sheer passion resonates, sounding like he's not so much cleansing his soul as vehemently purging all of its ills on Cut Me Loose and Ascension. His earnestness can even elevate trite sentiments to far greater heights than they would otherwise be afforded.

KSE weren't so much hungry as starving on Disarm The Descent — perhaps they didn't quite have the same point to prove this time around. For all of the frontman's tireless efforts, Incarnate is just a tad too familiar overall.

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