Killswitch Engage

Incarnate

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Track Listing

    Track Title

    Time

  1. Alone I Stand 4:29
  2. Hate by Design 3:46
  3. Cut Me Loose 3:01
  4. Strength of the Mind 3:46
  5. Just Let Go 3:03
  6. Embrace the Journey… Upraised 5:25
  7. Quiet Distress 3:46
  8. Until the Day 2:56
  9. It Falls on Me 3:45
  10. The Great Deceit 3:08
  11. We Carry On 3:23
  12. Ascension 3:13

Review

Though many fans initially regarded Killswitch Engage's 2013's Disarm the Descent, their band's first reunion album with original vocalist Jesse Leach, as a mixed blessing, it eventually became an unqualified success. It not only sold well and was nominated for a Grammy, it offered a platform for Leach to be re-integrated into the band's touring rigor and studio process. Three years later, Incarnate reveals that any visible seams are gone, and that the band's sound, while remaining effusive and more emotionally resonant, shows signs of an evolution. Fans needn't worry, metalcore hasn't been left by the wayside, but experimentation with progressive and melodic death metal is also firmly in entrenched. Adam D.'s production is stellar. His framing of Leach's fantastic clean vocals (and his own dirty ones) are nasty enough for sonic impact, yet clear enough to be able to understand every word. The drum sounds are big and natural, guitars are all placed on stun, laying out chugging hooks and riffs, and the basslines are surprisingly audible. Opener "Alone I Stand" is built around an angular hook and a thrash riff. The chanted vocal choruses are aggressive as hell, while the breakdowns offer an anthem-like testament. "Hate by Design" hearkens back to the powerful crank and roll of "In Due Time" from the last album, with a full barrel blastbeat assault. "Strength of the Mind" reveals the aforementioned evolution at work. One can hear traces of Pantera's most unhinged meaty groove in the vamp, but a mathy death metal riff recalls Poland's Decapitated and/or Meshuggah. "Embrace the Journey...Upraised" is directly at album center and the musical hinge piece for the album. It revisits every place KE have been, and points toward a more melodic -- though no less impactful -- sonic frontier. Incarnate could have used some editing, however. One suspects that, because they are such cookie-cutter metalcore jams (and completely inferior in composition and arrangement), "Until the Day I Die" and "Ascension" were left on the record to pacify longtime, more musically conservative fans. As a whole, Incarnate improves on the creativity and restlessness offered by Disarm the Descent. There is a lot more ambition, confidence and above all, passion here. ~ Thom Jurek, Rovi