heavy metal




August 16, 2019 was the day this past summer where KILLSWITCH ENGAGE released "ATONEMENT" upon the masses! Now, this might be an expiation of the band’s sin by way of music, or it could be a little deeper. Either way, there aren’t any wrongs that need to be made right on this album. The latest work of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE just solidifies their magnanimous place in rock history.

In the first week that "ATONEMENT" was released it hit #1 on the ROCK ALBUM Chart, #2 on BILLBOARD TOP ALBUMS, #1 HARD ROCK ALBUMS, and #13 ON BILLBOARD TOP 200. That's just in the US alone my Lovelies and was in the first WEEK of release. So, if you haven't had the chance to check the record out - then you best head over to your favorite streaming service or download it at digital music outlets!

See, in 1999 the conglomeration of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE began creating some juicy scores that were way ahead of the game and then, the idea of a song’s foundation being that of a tuning setting instead of a riff or chord or chunk of a melody was on the edge of being almost misunderstood. The story of Metalcore isn’t necessarily based in the fable that Emo crossed over to the Dark Side. But in 1999, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE (KsE) drew the attention of fans and listeners that wanted depth to their music. They wanted to dive through layers that they could relate to and not have to figure out any intricate formulas. Fans wanted to feel more from the drums, guitar, bass, and vocals. And so many fans found that KsE did the trick. And so did many bands that formed at the turn of the century birthing the theory of Metalcore’s conspiracy came to fruition.

That said, I can promise you that KsE, will go down in musical history for creating an addition to rock/metal music that totally jumps over the edge of where Rock was and where Rock was going back in 1999. Their music almost supersedes the labels of a genre and becomes an entity that ranks up there with bands like ANTHRAX, METALLICA, SLIPKNOT, KORN, AND SLAYER. Yes, they are that important and Atonement is your proof.

Like a Ricola commercial, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE has been blowing their version of a mountain horn from the pop of the go-gunshot and haven’t stopped running since.

JESSE LEACH explains, ““To me, the name KILLSWITCH ENGAGE means ‘Shut the system down’,It’s anti-authority and anti-corruption. My lyrics are very spiritual and political. It’s a part of what Killswitch has been since the beginning. We carry the message through the live show. There’s a sense of fun, enjoying life, and emotional catharsis. I don’t even know if we meant to do it consciously, but this showcases all of our styles. It happened naturally. I’m proud of it.”

Look, extracting the melody of life; out of its existence, is difficult to pull out multiple layers of a human condition. KsE seems to have scientifically carefully plucked the good bits and the new bits, stirring them up KsE supercharges and injects ions of bionic super matter, that’s then grinded up to a formidable concoction.

Atonement could be the band’s Gold Medal, their coups de grais, their masterpiece, the record that carves their names even deeper into the granite tablet touting bands that define generations far into the future…

I suppose that remains to be seen in the big picture; but for this Birdie, I will say that Atonement ranks in my High Five of releases in 2019. After seeing KILLSWITCH ENGAGE earlier this year, it is an even more solid winner than had I not witnessed a song or two off this record live. That’s the greatest thing about being a fan of rock/metal bands; getting to experience records, live performances, and correlating it all to life as we experience it, right?

For those of you that aren’t up to speed on how I review a new record, here’s the deal: I listen and write what comes out as the track plays. What is beyond the title of the song, is what I’ve heard and what I’ve written down as the song plays. So feel free to stream it along while you read the review, or better yet, try this for yourself! You might be surprised how you can connect with a band by writing as you listen!

Now, without further ado, here’s my track by track review of KILLSWITCH ENGAGE”S newest record Atonement:

UNLEASHED - ok, what’s been “unleashed” here is the true KsE power that grinds, sings, riffs, and clunks out a masterful treat for F4L (Fans For Life) and those that have just had their switch engaged to the band. This is the way a listener should feel every time they’re listening to a new song off a new record. #whabam! From the jump!

THE SIGNAL FIRE - we’ve been patiently waiting for this: the signal calling out to like-minds that jump-starts our pulse. Balls out ballistic guitar solo that has a sweet vocal overlay at the beginning; insanely good! Just a forewarning - I almost lost my water at 1:59 mark! Wait for the change that is historic!

US AGAINST THE WORLD - the intro is a core-piercing jolt to the soul, Lovelies. Prepare for it and then hold on while you’re engulfed into a true metal ballad. Here’s the definition of love all tidy and neat. With one song that will blister your subconscious with a chord progression that meets up with a perfect blend of drums and bass. This track is not for the weak minded - it will make you see love or lack of that exists in you and the world around you.

THE CROWNLESS KING - brutal marks from the drums, set this track’s story up like a house of cards. This is gritty, coarse, and as prickly as it seems, there’s an upshift like going up a steep hill and jamming the stick into third. Locking it in, the pragmatic percussion moves us along with peaks and valleys of bass and a synthesis of guitars that will melt the finish of anything protective; JESSE’S vocals are the toothpicks that keep your eyes open.

I AM BROKEN TOO - how better to connect to others than through music? Vulnerability, painful parts of existing with struggles and the victories over them; all rolled up in a confessional. The lead single off the record brings the reality of the human condition to life and JESSE uses KsE to unmask the fallacy that we have to struggle alone. Silky smooth guitars from ADAM and JOEL are the glue that keep the drums from JUSTIN and bass lines from MIKE stick to your ribs real good! This song leaves one question: how many people would you open your old wounds for? Think about that shit for a moment…

AS SURE AS THE SUN WILL RISE - if you think your voice is too quiet or not enough to be heard, JESSE is here to convince you that it isn’t. They layers of vocals become a weighted blanket, as the drums fire off cannon-like beats...what is JUSTIN doing with his feet - jesus - is that like a triple-bass footing? My god! Get ready to pull your hair out as it stands up straight on your head and neck with this one, y’all!

KNOW YOUR ENEMY - you have to know what you’re up against in any situation...ADAM pulls out all stops, calling up the troops with some bad ass licks. Fight back and resist the things that attack without warning. Get your rock sway on, Lovelies! It’s ON with this track. The bass from MIKE is stellar and counterbalances the guitars going back and forth from past to present. Know your enemy, even if it’s yourself…

TAKE CONTROL - this track is like a virtual instruction book for panic-prone people, set to music. The need to hold on and take control with things birthed in our brains want to come out and destroy everything around them. Calling up the desire to take control of ourselves. MIKE’S lows in his bass remind us that there’s more above the lows and ADAM’S riffs do what they do best; rise us up! Y’all, this is a guided metal-meditation from JESSE’S vocals and JUSTIN mimics the pace life can set sometimes and even in that fast flinging of the sticks that beat on the skins - that tempo just means we’re still here and we’ve yet to be defeated.

RAVENOUS - chaotic spree of several vocal styles spun by JESSE just shows how extra good this band is and has always been. This track feeds us some powerful guitar chords and whipped up with the rest of the sounds that make
Ravenous what it is; a blueprint of KsE’s DNA to showcase how mixing up the traditional elements can redefine what originally defined a band. Get my drift? KsE has a mantra and that is to #rockyourfaceoff - hard!

I CAN’T BE THE ONLY ONE - the title makes you stop and think before the song even starts. Crikey - the drums in the verse pound with precision on my chest - like paddles on a defibrillator - the tempo slams into my chest as the rest of the song’s electrical impulses shoot through my fingertips and toes! With one fail swoop - I’m gasping for air and empowered to take action.

BITE THE HAND THAT FEEDS - heavy AF and super sized dose of punk influences this track. It is a quick and clear reminder of roots and where they can take us and where they can dig in and grow. All of the intricacies of this song and how they’re put together. “WARNING WARNING WILL ROBINSON…” Listen carefully to the last 50 seconds of this track and after it has sunk to the pit of your existence, answer their question. If you can.


Well, there it is Lovelies - the review of the mighty KILLSWITCH ENGAGE’s newest record from Metal Blade Records - Atonement. And honestly, this record marks the reasons this band is so beloved. KsE has everything that any music fan craves in a band; grit, tenacity, truth, honesty, and a fuse that will light up any fan at any given moment their music is played.

Make sure you pick this up where music is dropped down: iTunes, Google Play, and make sure to follow the band on socials (some links below, in case you’re a new fan) so you get all the 4-1-1 on tours and other special news from the band. And watch for more things KsE related on and last but not least, find out what I’m up to by checking out where I keep you engaged with your favorite music, bands, artists, and music culture this side of the Rio Grand!

Til Next Time - MRML - Cherri


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    November 06, 2019

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