Release Date: Jan 18, 2011
Record label: Roadrunner Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative Metal, Heavy Metal, Progressive Metal
In every era and genre of music, there are certain albums that define the period and establish trends that everyone else follows. The dawn of metalcore in the early 2000s was defined by Killswitch Engage’s monumental sophomore album, Alive or Just Breathing. The perfect blend of harsh and clean vocals from vocalist Jesse Leach combined with Adam Dutkiewicz’s overwhelmingly catchy guitar riffs yielded an album with influential power still felt today.
Storming stuff Since Jesse Leach left his singing post at the helm of Killswitch Engage in 02, just after the release of awesome second effort ‘Alive Or Just Breathing’, joining Seemless the following year, you’d have never thought a musical reunion (of such) would ever be on the cards for the vocalist and guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz. Now, some nine years later, the fruit of their combined efforts is here in the form of ‘The Hymn Of A Broken Man’, the title of which is particularly poignant as Adam, who plays all the instruments on this effort and also shares vocal duties, wrote most of the material while laid up in hospital while undergoing emergency surgery on his back. Times Of Grace are loaded with jagged, machine-gunning guitars and hefty artillery drumming, coupled with Jesse’s unmistakable soaring vocal punctuated by choice guttural, primal and raw, throat-scraping pleas.
This isn't a band, it's a project, a collaboration between Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz and former Killswitch vocalist Jesse Leach. And, truth be told, if the average listener were told The Hymn of a Broken Man contained leftover songs from Leach's tenure with Killswitch, it wouldn't seem all that implausible. Anyone who thought, especially given that their band shares its name with an album by Bay Area art-doom metallers Neurosis, that Times of Grace was going to represent some radical departure is bound to be disappointed.
Review Summary: Broken man with broken songwriting writes broken albumThe thing that really prevents The Hymn of a Broken Man from being great, in any sense of the word, is its problems with dynamic, tempo, and melody usage, vocal or instrumental. The flow of Times of Grace’s debut is so jagged and stop-start, the chore of listening to it makes the gems that appear later on in the tracklisting, like the purely acoustic and slowed-down “The Forgotten One”, easily the strongest and most enjoyable track of the bunch, almost not worth the effort of discovering. Roughly ten of the the thirteen tracks to be found here sound the same, a mix bag of ballad-esque starts and ends, with crunchy, melodic Killswitch Engage-like metalcore, thrown together for a mess of overly long songs that prove to be completely forgettable once the clean guitar tone of “Fall From Grace” fades to silence at the album’s end.
Killswitch Engage alumni team up for a metalcore master class. Raziq Rauf 2011 When Killswitch Engage catapulted themselves to the fore of the metalcore scene they’d helped create a decade ago, there was much promise. That pressure quickly told however, as vocalist/lyricist Jesse Leach left the band soon after their breakthrough, seminal 2002 album Alive or Just Breathing.