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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.