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Times of Grace - Hymn Of A Broken Man - 90%

tcgjarhead, October 9th, 2011

I will admit that I am a HUGE fan of Jesse Leach. Whether its his time spent in Killswitch Engage, his current band The Empire Shall Fall, or this side project with Killswitch guitarist Adam D, I love it all. And lets face it, this is probably the closest we will ever get to a proper Alive Or Just Breathing lineup reunion. So all that being said I was obviously excited to hear this album was coming out.

The influences on this album are kind of curious. We have an almost experimental modern metal(core) album steeped in Killswitch Engage like riffs. Now it was obviously going to happen that this album would either sound like KsE or get compared to it but it also stands on its own merits.

But where the guys really shine is when they mix dissonance with beauty. The two most obvious songs that we are presented with in this style are Until the End of Days and The End of Eternity. Both songs start off with a nice soft and slow intro but then out of no where Leach's tortured vocals rip through the song and the heavier riffs kick in. I have to congratulate the fellas on their ability to create songs where it flows so well from one form of music to another. I mean the songs literally go from beautiful instrumentals with clean vocals to just sounding ugly, and I mean that in the best way possible.

There are even a few more out of the ordinary songs here as well. Adam does a lot of the vocals on the album as well and its really showcased in his duet with Jesse in the acoustic song The Forgotten One. Then we have the instrumental In the Arms of Mercy that should sound familiar to anyone who has heard any of the Killswitch albums that have the instrumental tracks on them.

You have to give Adam credit both in his ability to add vocally to the album and mainly to the riffs he wrote. I mean whatever you may say about the guy you cant say that he doesn't write catchy tunes. Every song is melodic beyond belief and that's perfectly fine with me. Nothing here gets heavier than you would expect Adam to write but I don't think that's what they had in mind with the music on Hymn of A Broken Man.

Jesse did a wonderful job here. He shreds his voice in the harsher moments and croons when the music calls for it. The songs both vocally and musically seem to be split between uplifting and angry and it really shows through in the vox department. Its impressive how he can go from singing something really beautifully to sounding borderline demonic.

Hymn of A Broken Man is a wonderful effort by two titans of the metalcore scene. Its stunning in both its ability to shift from being pleasing to the ear to making you want to head bang. Adam also did the rest of the parts on the album including drumming and bass and while neither of these are anything to write home about it shows his skills as a musician. This album easily stands up against anything either of these fellas have put out so far in their careers.

Originally written @