Killswitch Engage – Incarnate: A Reminder of The Band’s Origins, You Better Hold On… [Review]

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The highly anticipated seventh studio album Incarnate, from Killswitch Engage was released on March 11th, 2016 and is now available on iTunes and in most music stores. If you’ve been a fan of Killswitch Engage during the early days or most recent, this record is one you should be adding to your library.

Incarnate (2016) is the group’s fourth studio album with vocalist Jesse Leach. Attention has been swirling around the singer a lot since his return to the group in 2012, and although his vocals were on the album, Disarm The Descent (2013), Leach’s contribution to the effort came near the tail end of the venture. Incarnate (2016) would be the first workings with Leach from the beginning of a project since the 2002 release of Alive or Just Breathing and fans have not been disappointed.

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The record has a slow start but when it fires up, you better hold on. Leach’s vocals take over and the guitars of Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewicz begin wailing. It’s a comforting moment when listing to the first track, Alone I Stand as you get a reminder of the beginning origins from Killswitch Engage, yet can sense a maturity from the growth of the band. Leach’s vocals no doubt play a factor in causing the moments of reminisce from the early days of the band. There is an intensity is Leach’s voice that is shown both through his powerful screams and melodic clean singing that gives the record its signature sound.

I really enjoyed the contributions from guitar players Dutkiewicz and Stoetzel. The longtime bandmates work so well together and throughout Incarnate (2016) you’re able to enjoy whatever it is their producing, from the acoustic intro of Quiet Distress to the deep and intense chugging of Cut Me Loose. During some of the softer moments within the effort, the two are able to keep it heavy and interesting. Through more melodic tones where some artists would resort to simple strumming, Dutkiewicz and Stoetzel design catchy and intricate riffs that resonate with you, making them stand out uniquely in each track.

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Drummer Justin Foley continuously beats the shit out of his drum kit and it could not work better. Through a wave of smashing symbols, pounding double kicks, and elaborate fills, Foley builds a perfect foundation for his bandmates to build off of. The blast beats and speed demonstrated by the drummer in the track Ebrace The Journey… Upraised, gives you a great idea of Foley’s abilities and endurance which plays a huge factor in making this album so enjoyable. The solo from bassist, Mike D’Antonio on the intro of the same track really sets the tone on that tune and really pumps up the energy before the song unloads.

There is a ton of diversity shown through Incarnate (2016) causing more interest from one song to the next. There were some moments I found where just as things were heating up, songs would be cooled down with slower, melodic riffs, kind of offsetting the groove, however this does makes the songs intriguing and not any less enjoyable. The group stuck to their formula which although, created great music, made it somewhat predictable, subtracting from a “wow” factor. Incarnate (2016) is well constructed and Killswitch Engage has produced more memorable songs to add to their repertoire that fans will really enjoy.

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