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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.