KILLSWITCH ENGAGE took the world by storm with their third full length album “The End Of All Heartache”. Despite backlash from the elitist division of the Metal community, the Metalcore band seemed to strike a cord with the ‘popular’ vein of the genre and began to garner a massive allegiance of followers. This kind of release, as with their third album, sets up a standard that many bands tend to crumble underneath when it comes to their next album. Even though there are some good parts to “Daylight Dies”, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE wasn’t able to make the follow-up release that many fans wanted.
What really tends to hinder the band for their fourth release is that they tried to recreate some of the things that made “The End Of All Heartache” popular. So many bands try this with their follow-up albums but very few ever accomplish the task. Many of the tracks on “Daylight Dies” end up sounding like watered down versions of songs from their previous effort instead of fresh new cuts. Not that all of the tracks sound like B-sides, but the majority of them end up that way. It’s a flaw in conception for the album that undermines many of the better qualities.
Besides the major flaw of ‘carbon copy syndrome’ that is in full display on “Daylight Dies”, there are still both good and bad moments too. The album gets off to a great start. The two opening tracks show that the band is trying out some new things to add to their Metalcore armory. Both of these songs have some speedier moments and some added complexity to the playing. Alas though, it doesn’t last for the album and it quickly falls into the standard Metalcore structuring and the same old thing we have heard before. There are other moments on the album that highlight some real intensity for the band like “Eye Of The Storm” or the bonus track “Let The Bridges Burn” but most of the album has similar material.
Part of the reason, I came to enjoy KILLSWITCH ENGAGE is because of Howard Jones’ duel vocal style that seemed to really just work so well together. His vocal parts matched the heaviness of the Core part but the melodic nature of the Metal part very well. Even though he is still the most impressive part about the band, even those sections feel a bit flatter than they should be. The dynamics of the vocal parts are overly layered for a sense of false depth that they just didn’t have in the writing. It’s too bad really since that was probably my favorite part about the previous release.
I would also recommend that one only buy the special edition that contains the four extra bonus tracks. Two of those tracks are some of the best stuff on the album and the cover of DIO’s “Holy Diver” will either get your blood boiling or make you smile – either way inducing an emotional reaction that the album fails to do. It’s definitely the version to pick up if you are going to end up owning the album to begin with.
KILLSWITCH ENGAGE is a good Metalcore band that just happened to release a lackluster album. It’s too bland and watered down to live up to the expectations and even though there are a few highlight tracks, one may want in their collection, this is just one for the fans.
Songs to check out: “This Is Absolution”, “Eye Of The Storm”, “Let The Bridges Burn”.
(Online February 12, 2009)