Killswitch Engage - "Atonement"
Review from Kylin Norton
This kick-ass heavy metal band that arose from Western Massachusetts in the late ’90s have been showing us what real considerable music should sound like for two decades now. From playing in small dark venues to earning two Grammy Award nominations, Killswitch Engage is finally blessing us with their 8th studio album titled “Atonement.” These men have worked so hard yet stay humble even with their half-billion total streams on all music apps, two video albums, and 19 singles. I was blown away given this opportunity to be one of the few to review their latest album, actually still a little shook as I’m typing this! Alright, let’s get started now on what I think…
The Main track titled “Unleashed” busted our eardrums a couple of months ago and I believe I’m still trying to heal from playing it so loud and on repeat. The power instantly blasts through your speakers with the hard-hitting drums from Justin Foley that grab your attention, and I’m pretty stoked they are opening up the album with such a banger. Jesse’s all-powerful and mighty vocals screaming along with Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel aggressive guitars, and Mike D’Antonio bold bass that shakes everything around you. In an article through Metal Blade Jesse described the song perfectly, “For me, it’s about the inner animal and darkness we all have inside. Thankfully, I’ve only had it come out a few times in my life.” I understood that and felt it because the song is so powerful and straight to the point. This track does not get old for me.
Usually, I skip it forward a bit, but the song titled “The signal Fire” blew me away. I legit had to turn down my headphones because it’ll knock you on your ass real quick, I was even told to get prepared for this song and I should have listened. Justin’s drumming is so ludicrous that it gave me writer's block for a bit; I had to take a break to comprehend what I heard! I would love to watch a video of him performing this song because of the strafing blast beats sound like machine gun-fire. Yes- Jesse’s vocals are there, in the back a bit, but you can hear all the other band members so loud and I love it. We all have been a fan of Adam and Joel’s guitar shredding, but the speedy riffs they pull off in the guitar solo perforated my eardrums and now I might have to heal again…but ill deal with that later. Another favorite part I read about the song is they have a special guest spot; previous Killswitch Engage singer, Howard Jones coming back to help perform. Both of their vocals together really kick it off and makes you want to play it over and over, plus a lot of us fans appreciate his appearance and the bond you feel in the song.
It does slow down a bit (which I needed to breathe a bit) to track “Us Against the World.” Don’t get me wrong it still jams but the flow of the song is pretty chill and more relaxed. I like how they brought out the front man’s more raspy vocals and showed off his actual singing ability. I believe it’s a great entry song for the next crusher “Crownless King,” which from what I read is some of the member’s favorite song on the record. Again another fast pace track from the slamming drums, high shifting from both guitars, and intimidating roars from the vocals.
I’m going to take some time on the next song called “I Am Broken Too.” At first, when I heard it I thought “Eh, just another radio jammer” and skipped over it before I was given the opportunity to write about this album. So now really going back, sitting down, and listening I have completely flipped my thoughts about it. Yea, it is a mellow song, especially being played after The Crownless King but that’s ok. Lyrically, it’s phenomenal. Now we can all throw on our battle vests and storm the stage, but deep down the majority of us are broken too, if not great! Fuck yea! Keep going! Jesse opens up about the song saying in a Metal Blade review, “I Am Broken Too assures someone struggling with mental illness or suicidal thoughts not to give up because there are more of us than you think.” Sometimes we all need to sit down as I did and give this song another listen, even if it doesn’t sound like an evil demon wrote it. This song has a deep meaning and I appreciate the fuck out of it. A personal message from me to you- I appreciate the hell out of each and every one of you and you are never alone. I have been in a deep dark place before and it sucks ass. If anyone needs someone to talk too, then please reach out to me directly. Keep blasting your favorite band, going to shows, and working your ass off.
DON’T EVER GIVE UP. YOU ARE APPRECIATED.
So far the album is awesome, it doesn’t slow down from the constant double bass in “As Sure as the Sun Will Rise,” and intense guitar please the rapid tempo in “Know Your Enemy.” I in this record; I feel like you can physically feel the guitars a bit more than their past projects, previously I felt like they were background noise. Everyone put so much into this record and I am happy about it, it’s a step up from the 2016 album titled Incarnate!
Wrapping it up, the album does go back to some slower tempos with “Take Control” and “I Can’t Be the Only One.” They are fun songs that you can grab your friends at the show, sing along, and jump around to the good vibes. You don’t always have to be super gnarly and spill blood everywhere you go, sometimes I like to jam along and run around as well and the album has the right mix of both. The album did, however, end with heavy hitter- I can hear Jesse’s vocals along with the old technical methods from the rest of the band. They started the album heavy, jammed through, and ended it with something to bang your head with.
It did take me a couple of times to really hear the album, but now after listening to it this time, I appreciate it more. I like the message the whole band gives us, I like the mix up of heavy and lighter songs, instrumentally they are all amazing, and I hope you jam it super loud when it comes out on 8/16/2019!
I do wish the album grabbed me a little harder, made more of a better first impression, so I’m giving it a 7/10. Killswitch are amazing and I know a lot of people are going to like it, I’m still stoked to be given the opportunity to hear it first. Keep on Keepin on.