Album Review: "Incarnate" by Killswitch EngageDate: March 11, 2016
Big expectations can lead to one of two things: They can be met or it can be a letdown. Killswitch Engage’s new album Incarnate is definitely not the latter. Firing on all cylinders the five dudes known for solid emotion filled metalcore and being jokesters have shown they’re still one of the best in the genre.
With three years since their last release Disarm the Descent, their first with original singer Jesse Leach back at the mic, a lot of fans wanted to know how the band would follow up this well received album, and how Leach would do with a few years under his belt. The songs on Incarnate did not come easily and a lot of time and effort went into making sure that these songs were not some disposable attempts at pleasing people. Guitarist Adam D said that Leach “hit a wall” while writing lyrics and after a few songs did not know where to go with the rest of them. Leach describes the writing process as being a long and tough process that caused him to lose himself at times because of how hard he was pushing himself. He wanted to give it his all and that he did. You can hear in Jesse’s voice and the lyrics that these songs ring true and fans will definitely connect with them.
This album flows beautifully with everything you’d expect from Killswitch. They don’t stray too far from what they do best and you can hear their signature style throughout Incarnate. Whether it be the gigantic sing-a-long choruses, the shredding guitar leads, double bass pounding verses, and those Killswitch breakdowns which are always a favorite of mine. At times there are pieces that remind me of Leach’s and Adam D’s other band Times of Grace in the more melodic songs.
From the guitar feedback on “Alone I Stand” that builds into a fury of double bass and toms and a melodic guitar intro until the song breaks into the first verse, the band immediately has you around the neck. You can feel that this is the album you were waiting for. “Cut Me Loose” and “Just Let Go” are probably the least in-your-face containing mostly clean singing from Leach that features those emotion filled lyrics about when you feel there’s nothing left to live for. Lead single “Strength of the Mind” is one of the best songs Killswitch has written across all eras of the band. “Embrace the Journey… Upraised” clocks in at around five and a half minutes compared to three minutes which is about where all of the other songs wrap up. They use every second of that 5:30 to play some of the brutalist riffs, which is capped off by one of my favorite breakdowns on the record. Opening with an acoustic guitar intro, “Quiet Distress” seems like it might fit its namesake until the band pummels you by jacking the amps up from zero to eleven. “Ascension,” the final of the twelve tracks, perfectly ends the album the way it should and ends with a big breakdown that slowly fades allowing you to reflect on the experience of listening to Killswitch’s very well put together release.
Killswitch Engage upped the ante and they delivered big time on Incarnate. These songs are equal parts brutal and catchy and definitely blow expectations out of the water. Incarnate describes this album perfectly because this is Killswitch in the flesh and a hundred percent genuine.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this review are the opinions of the writer alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of WSOU, Seton Hall University, nor any of its affiliates.