Thursday, July 9, 2009

Killswitch Engage, Darkest Hour, Unearth

Today’s entry is going to be a bit different. I’m going to review 3 albums from 3 different bands that are all juggernauts of the genre known as Metalcore. They will be short and sweet reviews because these are solid and well-known bands. I have seen them all live multiple times and they absolutely rock.

Killswitch Engage is perhaps the most popular Metalcore band and they certainly have attracted fans of other genres with their eclectic style. This album (Self-Titled), although not noticeably different from their previous releases, is solid and very catchy. Howard Jones brings such depth to his vocals (I used to call him the Opera man of metal) and his lyrics are usually motivational and sometimes about relationships. Adam D does a great job making some pretty catchy riffs and produces the album brilliantly. The thing I love about this band is how they can be very melodic; yet still utilize pretty heavy riffs. I think it is a better album than their last one, As Daylight Dies, but they don’t push the envelope or experiment much with style. If you are a KSE fan you won’t be disappointed but don’t expect anything groundbreaking. My favorite track right now is Starting Over since it often gets stuck in my head. The Self-Titled album debuted at #7 on the billboard 200, incredible for a metal band.

Darkest Hour has been on the metal scene since 1995 and has evolved from a melodic death metal style towards a more interesting mix of hardcore and metal. Their latest album, The Eternal Return, seems to explore their roots in death metal and is certainly heavier than their last album, Deliver Us. Honestly, this album fucking shreds and will likely bring a lot of attention to this consistently great band. They’re lyrics are amazing and I am always shocked by how good they are when I look them up. My only real criticism is of the vocalist, who has never been that interesting to me, although he is very passionate. I love the guitar solos on this record and I think it really showcases how great of musicians these guys really are. It is certainly darker in tone compared with their past couple releases and I really dig it.

Unearth is certainly one of the best Metalcore bands ever. I can still remember the first few times I listened to The Oncoming Storm and how much it blew my mind. Their live performances are incredible and they never cease to churn the mosh pit like their trying to make a shit load of butter. This is their fourth album and although it was released in 2008, I decided it is important and relevant to review it. The March is possibly their best album to date and certainly the most technical. Like all of the great bands in the world, they get better and better at playing their instruments and writing great songs. Their breakdowns are unparalleled in the Metalcore genre and you would be hard pressed to find a fan of the genre that dislikes them. With this album Buz Mcgrath writes even better and catchier riffs yet they retain their heaviness and as usual they hold it down with some colossal breakdowns. They also bring in some impressive guitar solos and Trevor Phipps pours his soul into his vocals and lyrics. He has a unique voice that is really fun to scream along with and perfectly complements the other instruments.

I’m going to certify all three of these albums as Nasty! Killswitch Engage receives an 8/10, Darkest Hour receives an 8.5/10 and I’m going to give Unearth a 9/10 because I think it is one of their best records thus far. I’m thinking of using this format once a week so that I can review more bands in less time. Content is king and I will continue to dish out quality reviews of the best bands and albums.

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