Killswitch Engage finally released their long anticipated eighth studio album Atonement on August 16th marking their debut disc with Metal Blade Records. The record has already achieved #1 status on iTunes in the US and Australia.
After their contract with Roadrunner Records had run its course, Jesse Leach (vocals), Adam Dutkiewicz (guitar), Joel Stroetzel (guitar), Mike D’Antonio (bass) and Justin Foley (drums) signed with Metal Blade, which is already proving to be an incredibly savvy move. There was a point in time during the recording process that put the future of the album and its release in question when lead singer Jesse Leach underwent emergency vocal cord surgery. To the naked ear, you wouldn’t be able to determine where in the midst of the album the break took place and that only exhibits how much control and resilience Leach has and just how talented a singer he truly is.
What is perceivably their most innovative record yet, Atonement begins with the opening track Unleashed which was also the first single released off of the album. It’s a great start to a record that punches into the core of Killswitch Engage’s signature sound with some new twists. The second track, The Signal Fire which was the third single from the album features a guest appearance by former frontman Howard Jones. As Leach and Jones dual on vocals, the intensity of the vibe undoubtedly plays off each other well. Leach’s melodic tone and Jones’s create a perfect storm in an incredibly well-written song. The pace definitely picks up with Foley’s rapid drum rolls and progressive guitar riffs delivered by Dutkiewicz and Stroetzel.
I Am Broken Too is not only the most catchy tune on the album, but a portion of the proceeds from this #1 charting single go to Hope For The Day, a suicide prevention and mental health non-profit. It is a cause that Killswitch Engage can relate to firsthand with both Leach and Jones taking leaves of absence due to mental health struggles. Not only is this song lyrically geared to hit you where it counts, the rock-balladesque tune creates a timeless and inspirational piece to this record.
The rest of the record is a continuation of Killswitch Engage’s sound, which seems to lose a little momentum after track five, but still holds the band’s familiar ear-pleasing melodies and accelerated moments. The album ends on a heavy note with Bite The Hand That Feeds which may have been better suited if it would have been earlier on in the record and perhaps ended with I Can’t Be The Only One. Atonement is one hell of a rollercoaster ride you won’t want to get off of and a phenomenal start to a new era for Killswitch Engage.