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Killswitch Engage
The End of Heartache
June 2004
Released: 2004, Roadrunner Records/Bonnier Amigo
Rating: 2.8/5
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall

Here comes another band from the U.S. that I’ve never heard of before now. Their previous album, which was their debut, was called ALIVE OR JUST BREATHING. Now the time has come for the guys to follow up the debut.

All the music on THE END OF HEARTACHE was written by the band as a whole with lead singer Howard Jones credited for writing the lyrics for each of the album’s 12 tracks. Adam Dutkiewicz produced THE END OF HEARTACHE and the renowned producer Andy Sneap did the mix. As can be expected, they both have done a stunning job to say the least. All of the guys in the band have a lot of space in the sound picture but most of the music evolves around the lead singer and the two guitarist’s incredibly energetic dueling throughout the album.

Well, what can I say about the music then? Killswitch Engage sound very intense with mosh parts heavily influenced by the famous Gothenburg sound and its heart gripping melodies. The lead singer shifts between angry vocals and more ordinary. It sounds like they have two vocalists in the band. Sometimes it seems like they can’t decide if they should be angry and brutal or rely on melodies and ordinary lead vocals. The verses are aggressive and extremely angry and the chorus is the opposite where it’s more melodic and calmer. However, the music is very well played even if the melodic parts sometimes fully take over. It’s testing to describe their music because I’ve never heard any band exactly like this. Killswitch Engage are incredibly competent musicians and I would like to hear them concentrate on one album with just brutal and aggressive music and another with more melodic stuff and ordinary vocals - they sure have the material to do so.

It can take a while to appreciate the music of Killswitch Engage and to get used to the constant variance between the both styles. However, once you’ve given them a chance they are not bad at all. Personally I like their more brutal approach while I am not into the more melodic parts at all. The better tracks are “A BID FAREWELL”, “TAKE THIS OATH”, BREATHE LIFE”, “WORLD ABLAZE” and “WASTED SACRIFICE”. Those tracks are of a more brutal kind than the other songs. Killswitch Engage give it a good shot with this album but sadly they only succeed halfway.

Labels: and
Track Listing

A Bid Farewell
Take This Oath
When Darkness Falls
Rose of Sharyn
Breathe Life
The End of Heartache
World Ablaze
And Embers Rise
Wasted Sacrifice
Hope Is…


Howard Jones – lead vocals
Adam Dutkiewicz – guitar
Mike D’Antonio – bass
Joel Stroetzel – guitar
Justin Foley – drums

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Killswitch Engage
The End of Heartache
June 2004
Released: 2004, Roadrunner Records
Rating: 3.8/5
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland

THE END OF HEARTACHE is a tell-tale record for Killswitch Engage since it is their second release (well, not really, but their self-titled debut was released on a small label, Ferret Records) and faces the possibility of the dreaded “sophomore slump.” Their last album, 2002’s ALIVE OR JUST BREATHING, was a solid metalcore record that solidified the band’s position among the new American metal elite with bands like God Forbid, Shadows Fall and Lamb of God. THE END OF HEARTACHE sees a change in vocalists as well as a new drummer from the last record. Howard Jones has some excellent clean vocals and he is able to growl and scream with the best of them. The drums on ALIVE OR JUST BREATHING were performed by guitarist/producer Adam Dutkiewicz but Justin Foley (from Jones’ other band Blood Has Been Shed) is a monster behind the kit. He is a “true” drummer and uses plenty of double bass, fills and rolls that escaped Dutkiewicz. Once again masterfully produced by Dutkiewicz, studio wizard Andy Sneap handled the mixing of the album, allowing all members to shine. A new lineup, a bigger budget (I’m assuming) and the buzz created from a massive first album should have made the band stretch to surpass it, but unfortunately they have not done that with THE END OF HEARTACHE. Despite the new lineup, this record isn’t a big change from the last one which is reflected in my rating.

“A Bid Farewell,” “Take This Oath” and “Breathe Life” showcase Jones’ range as he screams throughout the tracks but uses a nice clean vocal in the choruses. On the other hand, too much clean vocal befalls the title track as it comes off as more of an emo whine-fest. Joel Stroetzel’s leads and Dutkiewicz’ rhythm guitar are gigantic on this record and they even throw the odd quick solo in for good measure (“Breathe Life”). “When Darkness Falls” and “Declaration” are riff-laden songs with the latter being among their thrashier numbers with “Vide Infra” from ALIVE OR JUST BREATHING. “Hope Is…” features a chant of “WE WILL PREVAIL!!” that echoes through the chorus and is sure to get the moshpits circling and fists pumping the live shows. Two short instrumentals (“Inhale” and “And Embers Rise”) allow the band to show off their prowess on acoustic guitar and break up the action a bit, since every song literally bleeds into the next. One of the better tracks overall is “Rose of Sharyn,” which the band has wisely chosen to film a video for. This song has great crossover potential and will appeal to the thrash and hardcore crowd, as well as the mallcore kids.

THE END OF HEARTACHE sold more copies than any other Roadrunner release ever during its first week of release, so with the touring machine just gearing up behind it, this record will surely be the band’s most successful yet. I still prefer their last album to this one, but THE END OF HEARTACHE is still a great CD that will please fans of ALIVE OR JUST BREATHING and surely bring many new ones into the fold, as well.

KILLER KUTS: “A Bid Farewell,” “Take This Oath,” “Rose of Sharyn,” “Breathe Life”
Track Listing

1. A Bid Farewell
2. Take This Oath
3. When Darkness Falls
4. Rose of Sharyn
5. Inhale (Instrumental)
6. Breathe Life
7. The End of Heartache
8. Declaration
9. World Ablaze
10. And Embers Rise (Instrumental)
11. Wasted Sacrifice
12. Hope Is...


Howard Jones—Vocals
Joel Stroetzel—Guitars
Adam Dutkiewicz—Guitars
Mike D’Antonio—Bass
Justin Foley—Drums

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