Nearly 14 years after the release of their hugely influential Alive Or Just Breathing, Killswitch Engage are still gracefully schooling the vast number of bands that have since hijacked and diluted their sound. Their second album since the return of original vocalist Jesse Leach, Incarnate picks up where 2013’s Disarm the Descent left off, with the Massachusetts quintet continuing to refine and redefine their attack. Until the Day I Die wears its 80s metal influences with pride and boasts a chorus fit for stadiums, while Hate By Design and Strength of the Mind feel like classic Killswitch rabble-rousers given a jolting dose of steroids.
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.
In 17 years, the locally hatched Killswitch Engage has built an international career and earned two Grammy nominations in the process. The band was buoyed by the return of original vocalist Jesse Leach for 2013’s “Disarm the Descent,” but after a couple of years of touring he’s more fully integrated here. Leach pens many lyrics with a positive edge (”just keep telling yourself it’s going to be all right,” he exclaims in “Strength of the Mind”), but also flaunts a pent-up fury in the the blazingly fast “The Great Deceit.” It all sounds compellingly real; guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz adds brain-splitting riffs, and the rhythm section of Mike D’Antonio and Justin Foley locks it down hard.