Okay let me start off by saying that I am a somewhat big KSE fan. That being said, my favorite release by them is Alive Or Just Breathing. But I still like the releases with Howard on vocals, I would even say that he is the superior vocalist. But I must say, I had a bad feeling about this album from when I first saw the title and album art. The SECOND self-titled album in their career? WTF? And there was just something about the artwork that to me was, for lack of a better word, gay. And things just kept getting worse. First, the live version of "Light In A Darkened World". Not necessarily a "bad" song, but kinda meh to me a first. Next came "The Reckoning", which I felt was a pretty decent song. But the worst was yet to come. When I first saw the video for "Starting Over", I couldn't help but cringe a little bit. Besides the fact that video itself was terrible, the song was just so mediocre. I'll admit, the chorus melody is a little catchy, but Jesus Christ the riffs were so mediocre and generic it wasn't even funny. Then the album was put up on Myspace. SerpentineVIVIVI and I were hanging out at the time, so we quickly skimmed through the album, and as expected, not impressed at all. So today, I took it upon myself to give the album a real good listen, to truley see what I feel about it. So, here we go...
1. Never Again - The track starts off like a normal as-expected Killswitch affair, but quickly changes to a wierd time signature-based verse, which me no likey, followed by a melodic prechorus. The song then alternates between this and various screamed parts followed by, wait for it...a breakdown. The song then picks up again with a fairly good guitar solo. Overall a pretty decent song, not amazing, but not terrible at all. 7.5/10.
2. Starting Over - Uhhgg. As I said before, generic riffing and song structure. All in all, a pretty mediocre track. 5.5/10
3. The Forgotten - This track starts off with an intro that reminds me somewhat of "The Shortest Straw" from Metallica. It then goes into a pretty good verse with a good rhythm and a good riff. This is followed by a prechorus and a usual sing-song chorus. Obviously not the most fresh of song structure, but so far so good. The song then really picks up with a very thrashy mid-section which transitions back into the last chorus of the song. Overall, a pretty good song. 8/10
4. Reckoning - The first studio recording released for the album. It is a fairly short song, clocking in at only 2:40. The track starts with the verse, which has a very At The Gates-inspired beat. The rest of the song pretty much follows the usual KSE song structure, but a good track overall. 8/10
5. The Return - The song starts off much softer than the rest of the songs. Overall, it's a slower paced, melodic song. Not really the most exciting of songs, but still not terrible. 6.5/10
6. A Light In a Darkened World - The studio recording sounds pretty much the same as the live version. Heavy verses, melodic chorus, and pretty melodic guitars as well. I personally like this song, while I know others would very much disagree. Another pretty short song. 7/10
7. Take Me Away - This starts of pretty upbeat with a sort of hammer on-pull off-kind of lick with chords playing in the backround. It then goes into some clean guitars with some soft vocals from Howard. It gets somewhat heavier, but a very melodic song overall. 6/10
8. I Would Do Anything - The song starts with a pretty fast drum beat with guitar feedback in the backround. It quickly goes from that into a very breakdown-ish verse. Again, the usual Killswitch song structure is used again. The second verse of the song however is accompanied by some very, and I mean very
fast drumming courtesy of Justin Foley, followed by the usual prechorus/singing chorus. The midsection has a nice heavy riff though. 7/10
9. Save Me - Nothing new here. Just the usual metalcore to be expected from this. 6/10
10. Lost - Starts off with clean picking with distorted chords in the backround. I honestly don't feel like describing the rest. A pretty boring song. 5.5/10
11. This Is Goodbye - Let me start this off by saying how cheesy the song title is for the last song on the album. Anyway, the song fades into some pretty heavy riffing. The verse has some good riffing, but unfortunately has a fairly generic metalcore chord progression. The rest of the song is nothing really exciting. Not a bad song though. 6.75/10
Overall, the new KSE album isn't terrible as I expected, but isn't really anything special as well. My main complaint is that the band isn't evolving. Seriously, this is their 5th album and they are still using the same overused formula for their songs. What really disappoints me is that the band has so much potential, as Howard is a great singer, Joel and Adam are really good guitarists, and Justin is a beastly drummer. Anyway, these are just my opinions and if you care you should really listen to it for yourself. And as with any other album, don't judge from the first listen.
Overall Score - 6.5/10
And sorry if this is a little too long, I like to get into detail