The End of Heartache (Roadrunner)
by Martin Popoff
Killswitch Engage have vaulted past Shadows Fall, God Forbid, Darkest Hour, and maybe even Lamb of God and Unearth, to be considered the best, or at least most indicative brightest hope, for metalcore. This has been achieved mostly by folks like us distilling the story down to that simplistic point, but also by the phenom of guitarist Adam Dutkiewitcz producing other hot bands, by Killswitch’s exhaustive touring schedule, and by the strength of this album.
Dumb-ass title (and band name) aside, The End of Heartache is the work of a band deep into metal knowledge, embarrassingly rich with headbanging riffs, fronted by an excellent thrash vocalist, lucky to have Adam produce and Andy Sneap to mix. The sound on this thing is , and the metal cred unassailable. One thing that blows, though, is the stark sweetness of the clean-sung passages. It’s gay. But then again, that is what’s hooking mainstream metal kids into the whole minefield. And frankly, the thrashing is so amazing (check out “Breath Life”; Riff of the ’00s so far?) and the structures so perfectly and not excessively progressive, you quickly forget those ass parts. Somehow, there’s gotta be better integration of the two (see Shadows Fall and Strapping Young Lad). I suggest multi-tracking the cleans, adding a few thrash vocal tracks further back behind, and burying the whole thing a bit, plus not signaling it’s clean time with a part that’s way too obviously melodic, OK?