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RANKING: Killswitch Engage Albums
Massachusetts' Killswitch Engage have laid the groundwork for metalcore since their first release in 2000. With iconic guitar playing, driving metal and punk-style drums and the perfect marriage of harmonious clean vocals to anguishing screaming vocals, this band is metalcore incarnate. Featuring two amazing vocalists in the band's history; Jesse Leach and Howard Jones, the band has thrived with their vocals over their inspiring metalcore chugging and riffing. Belting out anger, sorrow, love, loss and depression all over fast paced, intricate and fretboard-hopping metalcore guitars.
With the band celebrating it's 25th anniversary this year, let's celebrate and rank the discography of the metalcore titans.
8) Killswitch Engage (2009)
Sometimes dubbed "Killswitch Engage II," this would be the last record featuring vocalist Howard Jones before his departure from the band in 2011. The band seems to not be firing on all cylinders on this record. I love Jones' vocal performance on this record, especially on the lead single for the album "Starting Over." With a strong and booming opening track, I feel the record just isn't hitting as strong as previous releases with Jones or the later releases with returning vocalist Jesse Leach on them. It sounds like the band was sticking to their metalcore formula a little too much and unfortunately the songs showcase it.
Tracks To Check Out: "Starting Over" and "Reckoning"
7) Killswitch Engage (2000)
Overall, a good introduction to the band and you can hear the building blocks of what the band would build off of, to create the sound we know them for nowadays. With the legendary 2000's metalcore guitar tone and style, Jesse Leach's vocals show a beautiful blend of screams and singing. Vocals do also lean more towards the screaming on this record compared to the iconic scream/sing choruses the band would make a trademark of metalcore. With founding member and guitarist/backing vocalist Adam Dutkiewicz playing drums only on this album, which he does a great job playing, the band unveils a strong debut record. If you are a fan of classic 2000's metalcore with a rougher, more less produced sound, this record will scratch that itch.
Tracks To Check Out: "Temple From The Within," "Vide Infra" & Rusted Embrace"
The making of this record was tough for the band. Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz said that band had unfortunately "hit a wall with ideas" struggling to find compositions that worked as well as Leach struggling for lyrical ideas. Once the band got over the writer's block, the record shines and starts to show their songwriting getting stronger from their previous record. Guitar harmonies and fast paced d-beat style drumming, the band had re-found their groove and started to get better since the return of Leach from their previous record Disarm The Descent.
Tracks To Check Out: "Cut Me Loose," "Just Let Go" & "Quiet Distress"'
5) Disarm To Descent
The band's 6th record, and marks the return of original vocalist Jesse Leach back into the fold. Following up their 2009 Self-Titled, the band returned with the fury and vigor of their first two releases. Mixing their classic 2000's sound into the modern day. Fusing their take on metalcore with more elements and riffs reminiscent of melodic death metal like At The Gates, which almost brings more aggression and intensity to the record. Leach's vocals are on fire on this record, bringing almost a youth like energy in his growls and his cleans that haven't been heard since the debut. The musicianship shines with this record and is the Killswitch the fans were ready for, welcoming Leach back with open arms.
Tracks To Check Out: "In Due Time," "Tribute To The Fallen" & "The Hell in Me"
4) As Daylight Dies
The follow-up to their commercial breakthrough release The End of Heartache, Jones' vocals shine again on this record. The guitars and drums hit hard in the mix, matching the cadence and aggression the vocals bring along with matching the sorrow and emotion with each chorus. The band performs great opening guitars with each song and show off their memorable sound with meaningful lyrics that tug at the heartstrings as you sing along to them before screaming your heart out right after it. Also, their edition of the Dio classic "Holy Diver" is one of the best covers I have heard from the band, and of the song itself, and showcases Jones' impressive vocal chops on the track.
Tracks To Check Out: "The Arms of Sorrow," "My Curse," "Holy Diver (Dio cover)"
The band's most recent record, Atonement continues the band's continuous unmatched style of metalcore. With guest appearance by ex-vocalist Jones and Chuck Billy of Testament, the collaborations are strong hitters on the record. The collaboration with Jones brings back memories to the track "Take This Oath" off The End of Heartache. When the vocals kick in on the track, it gives me goosebumps every time and their voices gel with each other so well, that you almost wish they just had both of them as dual vocalists. A strong release in their discography and definitely shows that even after 20 years, the band can still show these youngsters how it's done.
Tracks To Check Out: "This Signal Fire" & "The Crownless King"
2) Alive or Just Breathing
Following the debut record, the band refined their sound more and stepped up the production and delivered what some might say is a defining record in the metalcore genre. The opening track kicks off with start/stop chugging guitar with tom-heavy drums with Leach's vocals adding another 1-2 punch to the opening. With many of the band's live staples on this record, this record showed off the band's definitive sound and introduced them into the metal world. With standout track "Fixation on The Darkness" showcasing the vocal range along with crushing guitars and an awesome hardcore drums and driving bass outro. The stage was set for the band to rise to the upper echelon of metal.
Tracks To Check Out: "Fixation on The Darkness," "My Last Serenade" & "Life To Lifeless"
1) The End of Heartache
With the debut of new vocalist Howard Jones, new drummer Justin Foley and a popular single featured in the 2004 movie Resident Evil: Apocalypse, this was the record that made the band. Every track is a classic in metalcore, let alone metal. Jones' vocals shine so well in the record. From guttural, agonizing screams to his powerful bass clean voice, he shines and is the star of the record. Musically, everything is on point. Chugging guitars, half time drums, and matching d-beat drums with the iconic guitar playing over the incredible vocals, this record is an amazing record.
Tracks To Check Out: THE WHOLE ALBUM, but specifically "Take This Oath" & "Rose of Sharyn"
Do you agree on the ranking? Which releases should be moved up or down on the list? Please give your reasons and your own rankings in the comments section below.