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Perfectly Balanced - 100%

Petrus_Steele, August 31st, 2019
Written based on this version: 2007, CD + DVD, Roadrunner Records (Digipak, Reissue, Special Edition)

As Daylight Dies is in the argument of which Killswitch Engage record is the best, between this and Alive or Just Breathing and between Howard Jones and Jesse Leach. This album isn't only a significant improvement to the self-proclaimed, best-selling metalcore record that is The End of Heartache. It's actually a proper successor to said 2002 record. Musically, the transition to a more prominent melodic sound hasn't only improved past mistakes but started to become more acceptable and appealing. That transition at first might've looked like a risk, but going from the hardcore essence with Jesse, to the melodic sound with Howard this time was a proper adjustment.

I won't lie. While it is my favorite album from the band - and although I still prefer Jesse over Howard when it comes to Killswitch Engage, despite being a fantastic or a perfect record, it's very repetitive; like 90% of the album sounds the same. The only difference would be This Is Absolution and the famous song WWE liked to use back in the day: This Fire (originally titled This Fire Burns). The rest of the songs, even the metalcorized version of Holy Diver sound the same. These 12 out of 15 songs follow the same formula. But despite that repetitiveness factor, this is still a quality metalcore album. Howard delivering his very best in both screams and clean vocals; capturing the operatic moments with his powerful screaming, Adam having more significant backing vocals that can be considered co-lead vocals and his and Joel's guitar work surpassing in their sweet, catchy, improved, and challenging melodies, Justin doing a lot of heavy work behind the drums and Mike always delivering them sick bass lines. The production was always top-notch since 2002 - no comment about that.

The majority of this album consists of many heavy melodies, but even such songs that feature heavy melodies can be considered more melodic than others. So what I liked about this album is the variety you have between the more melodic songs and the more heavy songs. So again, you might find this album repetitive, but it's got a plethora of songs and examples that vary between the melodies and the heaviness.

Listening to the more melodic songs: the title track expresses some atmospheric guitar melodies, as Howard gathers us into this amazing climatic intro of an album. The entire song from the first verse to the outro is melodically catchy and giving chills down your spines. Mike sounds like his blasting with his bass, and Howard really capturing the moment in the chorus. This Is Absolution was the only original song out of the 14 that I didn't like, which was mainly because of how different it sounded. But if you bring the repetitiveness factor I mentioned, you gotta give it credit for sounding different, again. The next album I remembered, for the most part, sounded like this song, but it surely varied. As for the song itself, it's another one which Adam sings, followed by beautifully composed acoustic guitars. The Arms of Sorrow showcases a lot of catchy palm-muted riffs, but the melodies from both Howard and the guitars sound PHENOMENAL. I liked how the first verse had a chorus-effected guitar for a slow melody, while on the second verse it didn't. Adam once again can be heard singing during the chorus. The band's second most famous song: My Curse. Also containing an atmospheric and melodic intro like The Arms of Sorrow along with the catchy melodies and prominent screaming the song has; like the intro scream. The chorus brought back the main riff, only with Howard enriching its sound with his operatic vocals. The second pre-chorus made the song heavier but for a short period. When I first started listening to the band, it was a great start with a song like My Curse. Though like other famous songs, it's definitely beatable by others available on the album. Break the Silence showcases some great vocals by Howard, both in screaming and his clean melodies. The chorus is audibly self-explained - even during the outro, bringing in the light, followed by what I believe to be Adam's death growls - just a fantastic composition! Didn't know where else exactly to categorize this, but while Reject Yourself is a very heavy track with its riffage and the blast beats by Justin entering the band (probably?) for the first time, it's also very melodic. Adam sounding loud and wild and arguably the best clean vocals he added. The bridge is insanely one of the best the band had ever composed, all the way to the outro.

For the more standard, heavy songs: Unbroken is short, yet very heavy. The intro blasting into you and the drums sounding great from start to finish. Though Howard's clean vocals didn't strike me well, as much as his screams have. I would say this song is another example that its sound should've been developed during The End of Heartache's recordings. For You is very identical to My Curse, especially during the chorus, not to mention how bizarrely Howard sounds - perhaps a mixing problem? He sounds rather cleaner and louder. Overall, this track is one of the heaviest, even melodically. Still Beats Your Name is another heavier song, containing sick riffage and melodies, especially during the pre-verse/chorus; becoming more atmospheric. Yet this song is SO inspirational to another end. The chorus alone and the lyrics in that part are so powerful. Makes me wish the song was extended to least another minute. Did I forget to mention Adam singing again during the bridge? Thankfully, Eye of the Storm showcases more of Mike's bass lines including as a bridge intro. As for the majority of the song: melodic, catchy, energizing - need I say more? I think the best part about this song is the outro breakdown. While the band isn't fond of breakdowns like the majority of '-core' bands, this song contains one of the sickest breakdowns I've ever heard. Simple, yet effective. Desperate Times can be considered heavy and atmospheric. The verses are heavily AMAZING, on all instrumental aspects. The chorus showcases a strong atmosphere. I liked the pre-verse melody before the second verse; adding some layer, along with Howard singing more clean this time. Also can't forget how Mike sounded overall. The bridge calms the song down, though still keeping that desperate atmosphere. The first bonus track, Be One is considerably heavy, though Howard by the sound of it preferred to stick to clean vocals, while his screamings are still captivating. This one might be my favorite song from the band, the second bonus track: Let the Bridges Burn. This song made itself as the winner, with its ravishing melodies, blast beats, screaming, death growls and clean vocals, the heavy verses and the atmospheric chorus - the repeated/longer second chorus showcases that. The bridge is more hardcore but still good. Much like Still Beats Your Name, the song's lyrics are too powerful and too meaningful. And finally, the third bonus track, which is the famous This Fire. Much like Unbroken, this song is effectively short, as well as being melodically great. The pre-chorus before it's repeated got some striking guitar riffs. Another prime example of what catchy music means, or should I say groovy...

Yeah, so about being perfectly balanced. It is. You can say this album has seven melodic songs and seven heavy songs, or it tilts with having one or few extra melodic songs or one or few extra heavy songs - or it can be agreed upon some songs have a combination of both. But there's still one last song, which is the famous Holy Diver cover. Yes, it sucks. It sounded bad and pretentious - or as I like to call it metalcorized. But with one mistake I have to keep biased and give this album 100%, and the song itself... it wasn't that bad, instrumentally. Unnecessarily catchy, sure, but the melodies were great, and Howard at least sounded right, not great, but right. Therefore, that's how I find this album to be balanced and variably original not to bore the listener.

About that repetitiveness factor: when you pay attention to songs like the title track, My Curse, and For You, they sound very similar to one another. In the verses, for instance: while the music, vocals, and lyrics sound very different from one another, their structure still sound from the same base. This Is Absolution, Desparate Times (this song, as a matter of fact, is constructed from both the majority of the album's songs and the other two songs in between it - at least during its chorus and bridge), Let the Bridges Burn, and This Fire sound very much alike music-wise. So okay, while these two examples can prove just about enough there's a significant amount of repetitiveness, all the songs still have quality.

If there are other ways to express or give an opinion for this album, then I'm speechless at this point. There's nothing this album didn't do for me, and this is one of the albums that have a special place in my heart. So in conclusion: this album is the band's best melodically, yet clearly their best overall (... at least for me?), while Alive or Just Breathing reigned a lot of heavy shit, which makes the two albums unique on their own. Now for the highlights: the title track, first and foremost, The Arms of Sorrow, Still Beats Your Name, Eye of the Storm, Break the Silence, Desparate Times, Reject Yourself, Let the Bridges Burn, and This Fire.

Getting worse and worse - 41%

Hellish_Torture, August 24th, 2015

Two years after having definitively polluted the melodic metalcore scene with “The End of Heartache”, Killswitch Engage came back with new material, just to drag the “core” trend at even lower levels. In those two years, everything had changed. 2006 was a year of intense crisis for metal, and part of the fault goes to Dutkiewicz’s band. The year before, Bullet for My Valentine’s debut had been released, attracting even more emo kids into the metal scene; heavy metal had just resumed from the profound identity crisis that it had to face during the early 2000s (when cock-rock bands such as Linkin Park and Papa Roach took over the nu metal subgenre), but now it was already going to face another one in the second half of the decade, this time against all those wimpy emo kids. Excluding few exceptions (first of all, All That Remains’ “The Fall of Ideals”), metalcore in 2006 was pretty much on its knees, and Killswitch Engage gave another strike to its already precarious health with their new album “As Daylight Dies”.

This album does nothing but expand every single flaw of its infamous predecessor, giving to younger bands some more thorough lessons about how to ruin metalcore. Truth be told... in the same year, even All That Remains made a breakdown-driven song, “Not Alone”, but in this case it was just an exception to the rule (since they usually don’t insist on breakdowns as much as their pals Killswitch Engage do) and, most of all, the whole song-structure was way more dynamic and cohesive. On “As Daylight Dies”, Dutkiewicz’s wretched team creates a gross, unfocused mess. Take, for example, the single “The Arms of Sorrow”, which is probably the worst track to be featured on the whole record: cheesy arpeggios, half-assed mid-paced riffs thrown into a confused and incoherent song-structure, tons of exaggerated chugs and breakdowns, random and unnecessary guitar wankery and, most of all, unlistenable clean vocals (especially those of the chorus) delivered by Howard Jones. Breakdowns on this record have dramatically increased in number, polluting the songwriting to unbearable levels and working mostly as a filler, rather than just as an additional component - ending up being ridiculously redundant and completely unnecessary: the obsessive repetition sounds frustrating already since the first couple of tracks (especially “This is Absolution” and “Unbroken”), and believe me... around track 8, 9 or 10, your nerves will be begging for mercy to stop this torture.

Anyway, the breakdown-based formula is still filled with many “distractive elements”. Honestly, the riffing hasn’t improved so much: it’s still the same soup of inconsistent groove/thrash/melodeath stuff, just with some “expansions” of the formula - tending to go a bit more into the proper thrash territory (most of the time with bland results, as demonstrated by “Still Beats Your Name” and “Eye of the Storm”) or even with some attempts at imitating At the Gates (with the generic intro riff of “Unbroken”). Of course, most of the guitar melodies featured on this record are even cheesier and more saccharine than before (“Break the Silence” and the so-called “atmospheric” chorus of “Desperate Times” are tragically perfect examples); however, I’ll admit, there are still some fine melodic ideas to be found here and there, in the best Killswitch Engage tradition: “My Curse” begins with a nice arpeggio, followed by good melodies alternated with the same old bland soup of exaggerated chugs, faceless melodies and uninspired riffs; even the aforementioned “Desperate Times” features some pretty good melodic ideas (ruined by the nauseating breakdowns beneath them and Howard’s scandalous clean vocals), while “Daylight Dies” starts with some nice tremolo melodies and, pretty much in the same way of a certain part of “Still Beats Your Name”, contains some well-done In Flames-esque riffage.

However, these are only isolated episodes, and most of the time the songwriting is still weak and boring as fuck. I think it’s no coincidence if, on this album, Dutkiewicz’s displays of technical wankery are even more diffused than before, in order to fill more space: you’ll find tons of useless, masturbatory tapping parts on “Still Beats Your Name”, “Eye of the Storm” and “Break the Silence”. Yeah, Adam, you are a great guitarist, we all know it... but, paradoxically, this aspect contributes to make Killswitch Engage’s musical offering even more depressing. These guys clearly have a great potential (and they showed it during the 90s, giving strong contributions to the nascent metalcore genre with other bands), but they chose to waste their capabilities since the early 2000s, in order to seek and find commercial success.

And, just speaking of “potential”... do you really wanna know what these crazy motherfuckers would still be capable of? Well, the answer awaits you at the end of this album. HOLY SHIT. After ten tracks of pure boyband-styled crap, “Reject Yourself” kicks you abruptly in the ass with some seriously FUCKING MONSTROUS riffage: this is just fast and pissed off thrash metal, with the addition of some excellent melodic touches which make the whole thing even tastier and more inspired. The songwriting is absolutely solid, the ideas are original, fresh and heartfelt, and the delivery is unbelievably relentless and full of passion; of course, the clean vocals do suck, but surprisingly less than usual. This is, by far, the best song ever written by Killswitch Engage, and it’s without doubt the only true gem of this crappy album; if all Killswitch Engage songs were like this one, I’d be likely a die-hard fan of this band. Unfortunately, the emo crowd comes before in the charts, and of course they’d rather listen to “The Arms of Sorrow”...

Just one awesome song placed at the end is not enough to salvage “As Daylight Dies”, which remains a pathetic and worthless album that contributed to lower the genre’s standards even more than before - and the band was going to hit the rock bottom with the following album, just about three years later. It’s really frustrating to realize that these guys are considered by many people (including a fuckload of music critics) as the absolute peak of the “melodic metalcore” scene. Apparently, their sound may share many aesthetic similarities with bands such as As I Lay Dying, All That Remains or Shadows Fall - but, looking beneath the surface, they seem to have way more in common with Bullet for My Valentine and Asking Alexandria, in terms of mentality and songwriting approach. If you wanna hear some good melodic metalcore stuff from those same years, do yourself a favor... stick to “The Fall of Ideals”, “Threads of Life”, “Undoing Ruin” and “An Ocean Between Us”, and leave this pap to the whiny emo kiddies.

Crunchier, but still safe to bring home to Mom - 17%

autothrall, September 10th, 2010

When I first skimmed through the opening tracks of As Daylight Dies, I thought some major change had come over Killswitch Engage, like they had decided to shift back in time to their earlier years and make everything all the more crunchy and aggressive. Sadly, that is not the case for the entire album, and a few of the tracks sound extremely familiar to the Gothenburg-meets-groove gone emo that dominated the previous record The End of Heartbreak, so I still had to arm myself with both a bucket for bile and a box of tissues for the tears I would inevitably weep as I journeyed through this emotional roller coaster of abysmal composition and cheap metalcore thrills.

Racing, melancholic guitar streams tease the listener into thinking this is some real melodic death metal album until about 1:00 into "Daylight Dies", which then devolves into horrendous mosh metal with dull and redundant melodic fills and aimless barking. Of course, Howard Jones' soulful vocals are not far around the corner, and the whole thing collapses into an even more retarded metalcore breakdown with zero musical ambition except to entice the concert slamming of 13 year old girls and the boys who are fighting for their attention (boy are they hellbound on a fast train to disappointment). "This is Absolution" is another sheep in wolf's clothing, starting with a pair of brick house modern thrash riffs for all of 30 seconds before another shoddy groove, culminating into the typical My Chemical Romance/Fallout Boy style emotional lifting chorus with such predictability that I just spit the vodka I was drinking straight out my nose in NON surprise.

The arms race against Avenged Sevenfold to see who become the more castrated metallic doppelganger becomes even more heated when they spike off into "The Arms of Sorrow", a groove based post-hardcore track with a lot more, soaring clean vocals than usual, with enough angst in there that I felt Jonathan Davis of Korn might have been guesting in there, and a lame growling subtext which sounds insanely tacky. "Unbroken" becomes the same old shit all too quickly, a thundering if forgettable nu thrash riff that breaks it down into pit frenzy before you can even sneeze, soul chorus just around the corner, about as substantial as a hummingbird's vapor trail. But things grow steadily worse with "My Curse", a groovy Southern Pantera style slugfest with yet another cheesy emo chorus. It really feels as if they're bottling these songs up on an assembly line of awful, fast feeding them to the masses of tasteless Hot Topic hobbits like Happy Meals.

There is love burning to find you
Will you wait for me?
Will you be here?
Your silence haunts me
But I still hunger for you

I'm not going to waste your time with the rest of the band's originals here, but some special venom should be reserved for the cover of "Holy Diver" which is included in the special edition of this CD. Now, I may not be the biggest Dio fan in the world, rest his spirit, and I tend to stick towards his earlier work with Rainbow or Black Sabbath (Heaven and Hell, Mob Rules), but Killswitch Engage have taken this beloved song with its arguably atrocious lyrics and somehow made it even more corny, by tossing in chug breakdowns and other staples of their gods be damned style to make this their own. Make no mistake, I actually prefer a band to customize a cover song, it generally makes it more interesting to sit through, but when a band is already such shit on a stick as these Massholes & Co., the result is like having an appendix burst within you. You're in for a lot of pain, and it will be days until relief arrives through the proper medication.

I won't deny that, pound for pound, this is a heavier record than the past two, and to some extent I warmed a little of my inner ice to this fact, finding it just a thread less aggravating. However, it's every bit as lame and formulaic, and the bonus of having someone's childhood obsession with a legendary singer raped before my very ears by a terrible metalcore entity is not lost upon me, even if my own strings to that particular song are loose indeed. What I'm saying is that you are a poster child for masochism, and you DO seek to actually purchase this album, spare yourself perhaps the most lethal and crippling pain and try to find the original CD release with only the originals. You have my word that it will still suck, but you might be able to handle it with over the counter medication rather than foot an ambulance bill to boot.

-autothrall
http://www.fromthedustreturned.com

Get Out of the Way Howard, Make Way For Adam D. - 83%

Akerfeldt_Fanboi, August 17th, 2009

Killswitch Engage are, of course, a metalcore band. But, what makes them different, is that they are actually really fucking good. Riffs that are actually coherent and good, breakdowns that aren't too intrusive but still lacking and open, and a strong melodic sense similar to At the Gates or Arch Enemy.

Now, referring to the title, Howard Jones is the lead vocalist of the band, but Adam Dutkiewicz, the lead guitarist, producer, and oddly enough ex-drummer, should be the one doing lead vocals. While Howard does have much better range, I prefer Adam's soothing cleans and he actually uses death growls and shrieks compared to Howard's fry screams.

Okay, the music, you ask? This album is filled with very similar breakdowns, to get that out of the way, every other song has a breakdown in it, which is annoying in this style but is forgiveable due to the actually good music. The vocals consist of harsh screams, soaring cleans, etc, etc. and are backed up by Adam D's jazzy pipes.

Howard is a good singer no doubt, but his lyrics are another story. This may be a good album in terms of instruments and vocals, but damn are the lyrics obnoxiously bad. Shifting between loss, emotions, and more loss...it's all we get, nothing else, just being whiney and sad. Ugh, at least be tough guys or something...throw in something Agnostic Front would do, it would sound better in a song like This is Abslution much better than its current topic. The lyrics absolutely drain points from the score.

So, the guitar tandem of Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewicz is pretty excellent, to be honest. Mixing in chuggity-chug that is to be expected from metalcore, melodic thrash riffing, and intense lead lines, this sounds more like melodic death metal with that nerdy coating that makes it "metalcore". The guitars are tuned to drop C, which probably only aids the chuggy breakdowns...man; I wish they would throw in a slam or two. I've already mentioned Adam's amazing vocals (see: My Curse, The Arms of Sorrow, This is Absolution), so none of that.

The bass is virtually inaudible, but Mike D'Antonio was good in Overcast so I assume he's doing at least decent here. The drumming is superbly standard, very boring and lacking any double bass that would make it interesting. Eye of the Storm is the only time he even interests me to the point where I listen to him. Both of these instruments, and there lack of presence drag the album down.

The production is virtually sparkling and spotless. Which kind of annoys me on anything else, but it fits here, and doesn't hurt the album at all unlike most metal albums. The songwriting on this album is also fairly up to par, despite a few songs being completely filler and useless. There is a rather simple song structure at work here, but that's fine, as some of the best metal bands in history used simple song structures and predictable riffing, but did it so well that it was welcome and people loved it.

The music is spotless along with the production. As I said, most of the songs follow a very similar pattern, but do it so well that there really is no reason for them to change the pattern up at all. If the lyrics had more diversity, the album would sound a lot less contrived and whiney. Really, listen to This Is Absolution, obviously a melodeath song coated in metalcore themes. How about Eye of the Storm? A heavy metal song with hardcore screams and whiney ass lyrics, but the albums foundation lies within relatively heavy and good metal.

The riffing is usually superb on this album, except for the very few times that they revisit riffs that are unusually similar to others on the album (see: The Arms of Sorrow intro and My Curse intro). The real heavy riffs, like the intros to For You and This is Absolution, are really good and hold up exactly what good melodic metal riffing should consist of; melody, chunky tone, chunky playing, and a very clean picking technique, which is exactly what these guys pull off. The drumming doesn’t aid or hinder the guitars, so I guess they’re not too bad within the context of the music, and the bass is, as I said earlier, inaudible. The riffs in My Curse, This is Absolution, Reject Yourself, Eye of the Storm, and Unbroken are the best in the whole album and definitely the best in metalcore, at least lately.

So there you have it, the album is chock full of harsh riffing and hardcore vocals, but it is definitely not an album you simply turn your cheek from without a real listen or two. I recommend this to fans of melodic death metal, thrash metal, and heavy metal that is heavy on the melody and actually makes metalcore look good.

A Solid, Yet Repetetive Senior Effort - 75%

EXshad, June 15th, 2009

Killswitch Engage is one of my favorite metal bands at the moment. Whether it be due to the excellent and unique vocal work of front-man Howard Jones, or the crazy rhythm guitar parts, or the ridiculously infectious and upbeat lyrics, I pretty much fucking love this group. Yet I feel that 'As Daylight Dies' is not nearly as strong as the previous album, 'The End of Heartache'.

I think this is mainly due to repetition. Many of the songs seem to just flow into each other due to extremely similar song structures. The only track that really stands out to me is 'The Arms of Sorrow', a metal "ballad" with guitar and drum work as powerful as almost any other Killswitch Engage song. However, the catch is that throughout almost the entire song, Howard doesn't scream out the lyrics, but sings them, while Adam Dutkiewicz (one of the band's amazing guitarists, and also the producer of this album) provides backing vocals. Both vocalists deliver a powerful and moving performance, and this is this album's equivalent to 'The End of Heartache' from their last record.

My other favorite tracks would have to be 'Daylight Dies', 'This is Absolution', 'Unbroken', and 'Eye of the Storm'. 'Daylight Dies is a very dark, slow, and aggressive track that sets the tone of the album. I think the song's message is quite clear: stand the fuck up for what you believe in before it's gone. Though does take awhile to get going, once it does, it's a beast that you won't be able to get out of your head. 'This is Absolution' is a perfect successor to the opening track by being incredibly fast, brutal, and catchy, with a beautifully sung chorus about not giving in to the wrongful ways of society. It's truly a metal masterpiece, and the drum and guitar work is exceptional. 'Unbroken' is just insane, opening with ridiculously paced drum work and a powerful scream. Yet again, the song's theme is the same as the previous 2 tracks I mentioned, as it deals with staying true to yourself, regardless of what is thrown at you. And Eye of the Storm is my favorite song on the record, and it's one of Killswitch Engage's best. Any fan of Killswitch Engage, or metal for that matter, needs it on their portable music device ASAP.

But now that I reviewed that much of the album, I might as well stop, because the other songs are so similar to the ones I talked about. Examples? 'For You' and 'Still Beats Your Name' both are about rekindling past love, but the problem is they both sound very similar to each other, almost to the extent that they might as well have been just merged into one long song. 'Break The Silence', the track after 'Eye of the Storm', is also very similar to its predecessor, down to it using a similar opening progression. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoy 'Still Beats Your Name' and 'Break The Silence', but the sheer fact that they are so incredibly similar to other songs on the album just irks me a little bit.

The last 2 tracks on the album are 'Desperate Times' and 'Reject Yourself'. I hate the former, but love the latter. The reason why I don't like 'Desperate Times' is because it is painfully slow and just drags on. Not to mention the guitars, drums, and Howard's screaming just sounds uninspired. Reject Yourself, on the other hand, is a great ending to the album, due to how upbeat and powerful all its components are. Even with Howard delivering the harshest screaming on the album, and with some ball-busting guitar and drum work, the song never loses it's upbeat, almost "happy" feeling.

So overall, it's a solid effort, but in the end, just ends up being a bit too repetitive. The album barely has any room to breathe, with nearly every song trying harder than the last to be a brutal headbanger's anthem. But some tracks truly are worth a listen, and instead of purchasing the entire album, I highly recommend downloading 'Daylight Dies', 'This is Absolution', 'The Arms of Sorrow', 'Unbroken', 'Eye of the Storm', and 'Reject Yourself'. They are fantastic pieces, and pretty much sum up the best that the album has to offer.

Well it does have excellent production. - 33%

caspian, October 30th, 2008

KsE have long been a guilty pleasure of mine; their second album was pretty huge for me when I was 15 or so and I still think it's one of the few genuinely good metalcore albums out there, catchy, soaring, convincingly heavy and not terribly emo or anything. The third was decent enough; a step in the wrong direction perhaps but still enjoyable for what it was, a super catchy pop metal abomination. Sadly, as with many a band doing the whole 'good variation on a really shitty genre' thing, KsE eventually got sucked into the whirling vortex of suckiness that is metal core. Alternatively they dived into it willingly and decided to reap the ensuing rewards; regardless this a very big disappointment and unfortunately not all that surprising.

Everything that made these guys enjoyable on their second album- the satisfying heavy parts, the touch of restraint with the whole melodic chorus thing, sparse breakdowns- well, it's all gone. Saying they 'sold out' on this record would be ridiculous as they did that a few records ago, (or possibly the instant they formed) but whereas Alive or Just Breathing at least made you eat your vegetables before you get the sugar coated treat here it's all abandoned for an instant sugar rush, a huge amount of double tracked singing-and-screaming-at-the-same-time (certainly a greater evil then the Holocaust) and really stupid lyrics. Granted going after a metal core band for stupid lyrics is redundancy to the extreme- but the amount of 'We will overcooooooooooome!!!' and similar protest march slogans/Arch Enemy-isms here is truly ridiculous.

To be honest I wish KsE had dropped the attempts at metal riffing, the more melodic parts are pretty ace. The widdly-widdly riff in Break the Silence is pretty awesome, and various tremelo parts around (title track intro, Desperate Times chorus) is fairly nice in all of their soaring, er, tremelo-ness. They make Dragonforce sound like Ildjarn in comparison; sickeningly melodic and lush. Shame there aren't more of them, because the heavier parts in the songs- and I mean any song- are really bad; imagine a more generic In Flames with a few breakdowns added and you've got every heavy part here, complete with some truly execrable Anders-like shouts from Howard. Truly awful!

The closest thing to redemption (or 'absoluuutiiiioonn!!!') this album has is the absolute monolith that's the production. Adam D may write shitty songs and has a really wussy backing vocal but dammmmn can he produce like a mofo. Every recorded guitar should have a tone like this, every modern metal band should go for a drum sound like this- I guess this album doesn't have much use beyond being a reference CD and being used to pick up scene chicks, but it is very good at either of those.

Yeah, overall it's a fairly average record with horrible attempts at metal riffing (and emo choruses that are awesome but leave me feeling ambivalent and kind of confused), but I'm a loyal idiot with a bit of spare cash so I'll probably buy their next abomination anyway. For those unlike me who are smart and discerning, though, you would be advised to avoid this.

Kings of metalcore still going strong! - 80%

As_Dalight_Burns, January 21st, 2008

Ever since first hearing "When Darkness Falls" on my Freddy Vs. Jason soundtrack I was completely blown away by Killswitch. I wondered how someone can scream so well and then switch into an amazing emotional singing voice. This was in 2004 and now fast foward too 2006 and we have their latest offering "As Daylight Dies."


While it might not be as heavy as their older albums, it makes up for that on the catchiness factor. Every track is filled with Howards amazing screams and his great singing, especially on tracks like "Daylight Dies", "Arms of Sorrow", "My Curse", "Eye of the Storm" and "Break the Silence." But thats not to say that other members don't standout. Adam like always, is a pinch harmonic god. Especially in songs like "Daylight Dies" with that amazing screaming/guitar switch in the intro. Another standout of his is "My Curse" they flow perfectly in it. He also gets some amazing singing in this album. Near the end of "My Curse" and "Reject Yourself." After hearing his singing voice it makes you think, why don't they let him use it more? Justin's standout track here is for sure "This Is Absolution." Through out the whole song you can hear his bass drum and it sounds wonderful. "Still Beats Your Name" is also a great track for him, nice fills and again great bass drum work. Joel does his job great as a ryhthem guitarist, backs up Adam perfectly and makes the twin guitar harmonies sound perfect. I'd love to comment on Mike but you can't really hear his base >_> Oh well, at least he does a great job with the artwork.


Overall, I'd say this is my 2nd favorite Killswitch album as the standout tracks are just amazing. Of course this album has a couple filler but those are easily avoided or forgotten about because they usually come right after an amazing track. So buy the time those come on you're still going "wow was that other song just amazing." If you're just getting into Killswitch then I'd say this album is great for you as its their most commercial. If you find yourself wanting more then pick up "The End of Heartache." first and if you want the heavier Killswitch then go for "Killswitch Engage" and "Alive or Just Breathing." I forgot to mention, be sure to pick up the special edition of this album as it comes with 3 amazing new songs and their absolutely fantastic cover of the classic "Holy Diver".


Highlights include:
"Daylight Dies"
"Arms of Sorrow"
"My Curse"
"Reject Yourself"
"Let the Bridges Burn" (Special Edition)
"Holy Diver" (Special Edition)

A fantastic album - 98%

Natla_Romar, August 8th, 2007

Ever since I first heard about Killswitch Engage, they were always a band I was curious about. When I first heard "My Curse" on a sampler CD I got from my local record store, it immediately grabbed my attention and made me want to buy the album just to hear if the whole record was as good as this. I was not disappointed.

Simply put, I love this album and I have several reasons why. First and foremost are the vocals of Howard Jones. Man does that guy have pipes! His voice is easily one of the best and most unique I have ever heard in metal music. I found myself in disbelief hearing him go from a brutal death scream to a clean singing voice, and he manages to pull them both off with equal excellence. That fact alone allows Killswitch to not only come at you with an intense sonic assault, but also create melodies, (and beautiful ones at that) on every song. While I'm sure this might alienate fans of more "extreme" metal, I have absolutely no problem with it. To me it is one of the things that makes this band's sound so unique. The powerful yet catchy dual-guitar work of Joel Stroetzel and Adam Dutkiewicz is a perfect complement to Howard's voice.

Another thing that jumped out at me about the album was its subject matter. Unlike the doom and gloom themes you hear in most metal, Killswitch Engage chooses to write about positive subjects, and I commend them greatly for that. Throughout this record I heard themes of friendship ("Eye of the Storm", Desperate Times"), loyalty ("My Curse"), and belief in oneself throughout life's trying times ("This is absolution", "Unbroken"), and that's part of what makes "As Daylight Dies" so uplifting. Sure, many of the songs also deal with personal struggles, but I can tell the message this band is trying to convey to the listener, and that is that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. I only had to listen to a few songs to realize why this site lists "positivity" as one of KSE's lyrical themes. I even caught hints of the band's stand on changes that need to be made in our society on songs like "Daylight Dies" and "Reject Yourself". Also, I love the pure emotion Killswitch put into this album. I found myself emotionally connecting with so many of these songs, something that doesn't happen often.

In brief, "As Daylight Dies" has almost single-handedly made me a fan of Killswitch Engage. I can agree that the songs are somewhat formulaic and there isn't much variety here. KSE doesn't branch out much from "what they do" but I love what the band does so much here that it doesn't bother me at all. Killswitch has won me over with this album and made me interested in investing in their back catalogue as well.

Highlights:

"Daylight Dies"
"This is Absolution"
"The arms of sorrow"
"My Curse"
"Eye of the Storm"
"Desperate Times"

KSE's Worst Offering to Date - 30%

Dystopia1980, May 25th, 2007

Killswitch Engage have always held a special place in my heart, being as they were one of the first bands that helped me transition out of my Nu-Metal phase in the early 2000's.

With that said, as much as I wanted to like "As Daylight Dies," I could not find any positives about the music contained within. There really isn't anything offered here that wasn't done better on "Alive or Just Breathing."

Since the departure of Jesse Leach and addition of Howard Jones back in 2002, KSE have progressively watered down their sound for mass appeal. 2004's "The End of Heartache" had a clear shift toward mainstream and "emo" rock in lyrical content and sound, and now "As Daylight Dies" takes that same formula and shifts it further into radio-rock territory.

Every track on this album is completely formulaic and predictable. Intro - verse - soaring chorus - verse - ad nauseum. Howard's screaming seems to have gotten weaker, and his singing sounds even more over-the-top emotional than it was on the previous album. The riffing is standard metalcore, nothing too complex or creative. If you've been following metalcore at all for the last few years you will have heard pretty much every riff on this album.

During the explosion of metalcore sometime around 2002-2003, KSE's "Alive or Just Breathing" was a blueprint that dozens of bands used to create their sound. Years later, this sound is tired and stagnant. With so many bands now sounding like a carbon copy of KSE, this latest offering has about as much impact as a pebble dropping into the ocean.

There is no innovation on this album, no experimentation, no new ideas; simply the same recycled metalcore-by-numbers formula that has been beaten to death the past 5 years.

The funny thing about it all is that this latest album is KSE's most successful album yet in terms of sales. I guess if album sales were the primary goal, then KSE gets a gold star, but from a musical standpoint, I'd say the band has lost their integrity. It seems blatantly obvious to me that they are currently cashing in on the wave of emo/metalcore popularity, and really do not care about making good music.

Lacking in almost every area. - 42%

burningsynthetic, February 27th, 2007

I am a rather large Killswitch Engage fan, but I am sort of ashamed to admit that I actually paid for this album. To begin, I must say that Adam Dutkiewicz is definitely a very exceptional producer and can get the most out of Killswitch in terms of sound. But after a good 10 minutes the songs just fail to grasp your attention like any other their previous efforts did.

The guitar work is well done and definitely shows talent, although without any memorable riffing or solos for that matter, it just doesn't mean much after you take the disk out. The obvious guitar staples are here that we all know and love, the usual furious grind throughout the verses and bridge and then to the muddy and vaguely melodic choruses. The only tracks that these can work on without being too dull are "This is Absolution" and "Desperate Times".

As usual with the new vocalist, Howard Jones, the songs have little impact lyrically yet seem to move you by sheer power of his harsh vocals and melodic chorus work. Yet even still, with all the great work put in by him the album fails to combine all musician's efforts together to make something impactual.

Their radio single "Into the Arms of Sorrow" is a bland and toned down version of what they are capable of, much like the radio edit of "The End of Heartache" was a means to try to boost album sales. Despite their best efforts at best this album can be described as watered down and purely meant for commercial means. As a fan I feel a bit alienated from the fan base as it seems that the solidarity of the first few albums was their peak.

Bottom line, if you absolutely must have this album and are a die hard fan, I beg, perhaps even plead you to reconsider after listening to even a few of the tracks. It's pretty bad when I can only count about 3 tracks out of the 11 to be anything worth writing home about.

Recommended listening:
"This Is Absolution"
"Desperate Times"
"Reject Yourself"

Stagnant - 65%

symbolic1188, December 3rd, 2006

Killswitch Engage share the same style of singing screaming, verse/chorus melodic european inspired metal as about 1 in every 5 american bands. They have done tours that are unquestionably as far from metal as it gets, such as Taste of Chaos. They are obviously making a commercial stab as evidenced by the single version of the track "My Curse". While reviewing this, it is hard not to question their integrity as a metal band.

With the millions of imitators, they continue to push forward, and do what they do best. The pounding rhythms and sappy, crooning emo choruses are present. I am somewhat baffled as to why decibel, and several other magazines have them above the imitators. They dont offer any more than the competition. There are no guitar acrobatics to be seen, and no complex song structures. It just is what it is. In a word, I would describe Killswitch Engage as formulaic.

If you have heard their previous 3 albums, guess what, you own this one too. That is not a bad thing. It is certainly a fun listen, with anthemic choruses on "This is Absolution", and "Daylight Dies". You will be sure to sing along. Listening to this album however, you feel a bit empty when its finished. Its not satisfying enough. The only curve ball they throw at you is the slow song "desperate times". The ballad, "The Arms of Sorrow", is present, along with 10 other songs that will be sure to have hardcore power rangers going nutty in the pits. I have to admit, the choruses are infectious, but this album just doesn't offer enough. I have listened to it many times, and can't grasp why they are loved so much. It doesnt grow on me, is easily digested,and doesnt get better with time. It is simple minded shit, but good simple minded shit. It is worth a listen, but will never be a classic. If you hated metalcore before, this will not change your mind. If you do enjoy some metalcore, give it a try, because this is a pretty enjoyable if not completely identifiable album.

Best KSE album yet - 95%

metalhead_of_aus, November 19th, 2006

Killswitch Engage has returned with their best album yet. Their second with Howard Jones, is the most textured and varied effort so far. There is greater variety in the arrangements (not verse-scream, chorus-sing every time). The riffs in particular stand out, with some Southern riffs in the KSE style. The vocal delivery has become heavier in the heavy parts and more melodic, yet more powerful, in the melodic parts. The rhythm section is continually pounding away with some solid bass work and exemplary drum work, especially the double kick.


The production on this album, like the others with guitarist Adam D at the helm, is a thick, bass heavy sound which brings out the power behind the vocals. Subtle keys and synths have been added in places to deepen the mood and emotion behind this album, one of sorrow. The richness of the clean vocals helps realise the emotion, which stops it from sounding contrived. However this is offset a little bit with greater use of Adam D’s backing vocals, which compared to Howard’s, sounds weak, while incredibly, not sounding at all out of place.


As usual the lyrics are heartfelt, with songs about struggles, love and adversity making up the album. Don’t expect this to be a sad-boy album however, with the strength of the entire band lifting it out of the emo mire and into something metal, something that on first listen sounds sad, offers a feeling of strength and hope, thanks to the superb song writing and singing of Howard Jones.


When comparing As Daylight Dies with The End of Heartache, the former makes the later seem one-dimensional, with its greater variation, texture, emotion, brutality and melody. Outside of Mastodon’s Blood Mountain, As Daylight Dies is the album of the year.