In my song review of “In Due Time,” the first single off of 2013’s Disarm the Descent, I conjectured that the first Killswitch Engage album to feature original vocalist Jesse Leach since 2002’s Alive Or Just Breathing would sound like a combination between Alive and 2004’s The End of Heartache. After having listened to Disarm in its entirety numerous times, a better comparison is a mesh between Times of Grace and Killswitch Engage.
Times of Grace was a project featuring Killswitch Engage guitarist vocalist Adam D. and Leach prior to Leach’s return to Killswitch. The project’s debut album, 2010’s The Hymn Of A Broken Man, received critical acclaim. It sounded like a more melodic and mature version of Killswitch Engage.
As the members of Killswitch Engage are not getting any younger, maturity is inevitable. Therefore, the heavy influence of the Times of Grace sound in the writing of Disarm the Descent was unavoidable. Some Internet users labeled the result “Killswitch of Grace” and “Times of Killswitch.” While those may be accurate assessments, Disarm is undoubtedly a stronger release than 2009’s Killswitch Engage.
The overall composition of the songs is stronger, as well as the effort and emotion the musicians poured into the new material. Leach sounds better than ever, as does the rest of the band. Adam D.’s backing vocals perfectly complement those of Leach. The guitar riffs and the choruses are arguably the most appealing of any Killswitch release.
Key tracks include “The Hell In Me,” “Always,” and “No End In Sight.” “The Hell In Me” is a great opener and sets the tone for an intense listen. “Always” and “No End In Sight” are probably the closest songs to the Times of Grace material. The former is a mellow, ballad-like song, fresh from the Times of Grace sessions, or so it sounds like. The latter has many similar elements to Times of Grace’s “Strength In Numbers.” They both include Leach chanting lyrics at the beginning with groovy guitar licks. “No End In Sight” is one of the heaviest yet catchiest tracks on Disarm.