Killswitch Engage has been in the metalcore scene longer than many of the genre’s fans could do long division, so expectations are high for Incarnate, the group’s seventh studio album. However, the main item on everyone’s mind is how vocalist Jesse Leach holds up, as this is the second record since his return to the band. Thankfully, fans should be more than pleased with Incarnate, because it’s largely an improvement from Disarm The Descent and still retains that established Killswitch sound with a few twists here and there.
Leach does an amazing job on this record. Both his singing and screaming sounds more crisp and get even better with Adam Dutkiewicz as backup vocals. Incarnate also has well-done lower guttural screams peppered in, which give the screams even more impact. In addition to being one of the better songs on the album, It Falls On Me is the best example that includes all the aforementioned techniques. Variety is the name of the game and it helps keep the listeners interest, because the instrumental portion can feel like a grind at times.
It’s not a surprise that Killswitch Engage has a set formula by now, but unless they make the riff and chorus outstanding like in Hate By Design and Until The Day, it can start to wear out the listener after a while. That isn’t to say they do anything new. On the contrary, songs like Embrace The Journey… Upraised and Quiet Distress increase the usual Killswitch tempo to the point some riffs sound more like melodic death metal. While it prevents Incarnate from getting stale, these faster moments drastically outshine the more forgettable, slower songs. Finally, it wouldn’t harm Killswitch to toss in more guitar solos. There’s seriously only one on this album, and it’s a breath of fresh air that should be considered more often on future records.
Despite all the complaints, fans will find more than enough songs to enjoy off Incarnate. It’s the same, old Killswitch Engage they fell in love with. There are a few songs that will even catch the ears of people who grew tired of Killswitch in the past. Granted, it would be nice for them to experiment with their sound a bit more (only because Incarnate shows that it works quite well), but this album is more geared toward showing the fans that Killswitch can still bring like they used to with Leach at the helm. And in that regard, it more than succeeds.
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Hate By Design music video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nG7n93dShNQ