Well it’s been seven years since Howard joined Killswitch Engage, and five years since 2004’s ‘End Of Heartache,’ so all the initial feelings of the lineup change can be laid to rest and we can all look back with fresh eyes at an absolute genre classic. Great music, great vocals and great production, The End Of Heartache has it all.
Chugging riffs, uplifting guitar harmonies, catchy choruses and heavy double kick drum filled verses have always been the Killswitch sound, but that style sounds particularly fresh and inventive here. The music is so well written, thoughtful and just plain good that it’s not hard to see why the bands are so successful. The production is also amazing, which is especially impressive when you think that it was self produced, with guitarist Adam D handling a lot of the responsibilities in the studio.
We all remember what an upset was created back when Howard joined the band but newcomers will likely wonder what all the fuss was about, with a singer this talented it’s really difficult to find fault. Howard Jones quite simply has one of the best voices in metal, an absolutely majestic singing voice and all the furious bark and shout you would expect for the heavy sections. The integration of Howard’s outstanding vocals into the band’s perfect light and shade formula make Killswitch Engage one of the most vital and important bands out there. Sure, the vocal style isn’t identical to Alive or Just Breathing and you may notice a slight change in how things are done however, you still get Adam D’s excellent backing vocals so the change is not as extreme as it could have been. Former vocalist, Jesse Leach, even appears on `Take This Oath,’ delivering both a message of `no hard feelings,’ and a fantastic vocal performance.
Adam and Joel have a really enjoyable style of playing that mixes Fear Factory influenced playing with twin guitar harmonies in a very particular fashion that not many bands can successfully replicate; heavy, full of catchy staccato rhythms and laced in melody and emotion. The album contains a lot of the finest work Killswitch have ever done and of course the concert favourite singles `End of Heartache’ and `Rose Of Sharyn.’
Standout tracks include the previously mentioned song `Take This Oath,’ the very enjoyable `A Bid Farewell,’ which so perfectly encapsulate that Killswitch style and the really heavy yet typically melodic `When Darkness Falls.’
The End Of Heartache is a undeniably classic album, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.