Well, well, well…what have we got here? Why it’s the brand new record from KILLSWITCH ENGAGE. Titled Atonement, out now, and the band’s first for Metal Blade Records, this one pretty much picks up where 2016’s Incarnate left off. And by that I mean riffs upon riffs, bigger than life choruses, and balls of steel. Vocalist Jesse Leach is once again singing and screaming his fucking ass off, and the songs will immediately stick with you. As an added bonus, “The Signal Fire” features a vocal duet between Jesse and Howard Jones (come on, do I even need to?) and halfway through the first listen I knew this would be in my Songs of the Year discussion. This track cuts you up like a school of piranha, yet you can’t leave the water.
Elsewhere “The Crownless King” shows guitarists Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel mining gold from their axes once again, with the drum and bass duo of Justin Foley and Mike D’Antonio stepping up to the plate and knocking in more runs. “I Am Broken Too” manages to be catchy while also evoking certain emotions, and I’m sure many of you felt that as well. “As Sure As the Sun Will Rise” is without a doubt one of the album’s best cuts because, quite frankly the whole band is locked in from first note to last and if it doesn’t have you ready to rock then you’re just hopeless. Meanwhile “Know Your Enemy” is all piss and vinegar, and when these guys get like this you just know shit’s gonna go down.
We get down and dirty into the muck with “Ravenous” before my absolute 100% favorite song comes with “I Can’t Be the Only One.” I swear on my Dark Lord Satan, if this isn’t a single and future live staple then I hate everything. Leach sings like he’s never sung before, and it is simply amazing. A majestic guitar intro kicks off “Take Control” and that axe-throwing only continues throughout. “Us Against the World” has a pendulum swinging groove, mixed with a nice hook, while closer “Bite the Hand That Feeds” throws you through a plate glass window Charles Barkley-style.
If I have one tiny gripe with the record, it’s this: as good a song as “Unleashed” is, it’s not the best choice to open things up. I’d have Put that around track four, but that’s just me. Regardless, the album is still fantastic. Once again KILLSWITCH ENGAGE hit the mark on every single level imaginable in metal with Atonement. These are some of their best songs yet, and the group is playing like a house on fire. I am so ready for them to hit Philly and melt my face off again! The disc is out now, so if you haven’t already done so, shake yo’ ass to the store, or to the internets, and buy a copy. I guarantee you’ll love this one. I sure do, and you’ll thank me.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM