Killswitch Engage is back with their seventh studio album, Atonement, out as of August 16 via Metal Blade Records, and it kicks on so many levels. Killswitch has always been a heavy band, and Atonement doesn’t disappoint in that regard.
The lead single and opening track “Unleashed” is feverish. It is hard and heavy and unrelenting for 4 and a half minutes. The classic riffs that float in the background while the drum hits double bass and the bass punches are outstanding. “The Crownless King” is heavy with sing-along chanting vocals that really lets it stand out.
The thing I have always loved about Killswitch Engage is the blend of heavy and clean vocals and how well done both of these tend to be. Original vocalist Jesse Leach came back into the fold several years ago, replacing Howard Jones- the man who once replaced him. Both men have unique and outstanding clean styles to contrast their heavy vocals. This made every Killswitch fans’ wildest dreams to see Jones, now the frontman of Light the Torch, return to duet with Leach on “The Signal Fire.” It’s really cool to see former band mates come back together with no bad blood. This song rocks too and it’s easily one of the best on a stacked record.
Rarely is a single my favorite track on an album but “I Am Broken, Too” may just be my favorite track so far in 2019. It’s catchy as hell and raw. The vocal work is flawless and full of emotion.
“Know Your Enemy” is a memorable standout on the album. It’s heavy and features an intense chromatic chord progression, built around one of the album’s best riffs. “Take Control” is the classic wide open Killswitch guitar intro that leads to a slow, heavy groove track.
The album ends on a great note and with one of the album’s biggest tracks, “I Am the Only One,” leading straight into the closer “Bite the Hand That Feeds;” aggressive, pounding and the heaviest song on the album to close us out.
Atonement is a blend of everything you’ve come to expect from this group of metal veterans. It has a lot of highlights and big tracks, and the return of Howard Jones is powerful as hell in a day and age where drama drives the industry. Atonement is 39 minutes of aggression and is absolutely worth a spin from beginning to end!
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