This record opens with the familiar formula of Killswitch Engage’s sounds as “The Hell in Me” makes an impressive showing by, mostly, boasting a catchy chorus. The album offers a remaining fifteen tracks, which is not unfamiliar to their former records that do not refrain from piling a bulk of tunes. Nonetheless, with Disarm the Descent, the songs begin to be of one repeated element. After a spell that can be considered a slight lull, the album awakens with “Always,” one track with a rhythm that pushes the band to a style-defying edge. However, the vocalist replacement gives it the most contrasting perspective.
Album artwork for Killswitch Engage’s Disarm the Descent. Image courtesy: roadrunnerrecords.com
For this album, Killswitch recruited their singer, Jesse Leach, after vocalist Howard Jones left because of some health issues. Leach’s vocals suit the songs; though, his direction seems to be travelling closely to another of his heavy music project, The Empire Shall Fall, which is known for its lyrics that drift along the lines of justice and personal endurance. His column, Check Your Head, is featured on the metal website called Gun Shy Assassin. Similar to the lyrics in The Empire Shall Fall, Leach’s column exudes positive messages.
While Killswitch had built a strong foundation with the previous albums with Leach, it can be acknowledged that Jones gave the band an iconic stance on the metal scene. Respected songs such as, “My Curse” and “Rose Of Sharyn” allowed them to gain a solid amount of success, credits mostly given to the melancholic yet wonderfully attractive nostalgic-like atmosphere in the instrumentation. Killswitch’s former success is especially validated as they gave presence to themselves by covering the popular Dio song, “Holy Diver.” Along with “Numbered Days,” a live version of “My Curse” appears on the album.
Overall, a major disturbance with Disarm the Descent is that it lacks those prominent tracks that helped the band arrive at a noticeable point within the metal spectrum; the record is missing that signature magnetic pull that results from the joining of dreamy melodies and equally fitting vocals. This can possibly be a result of them shifting toward a different musical direction, but it would have been beneficial if this change had not dismissed the inclusion of memorable songs. An album’s lack of stronger tracks can hinder any potential likability, but Disarm the Descent performs as an album nestled between a determined spirit to fulfill and wholesome mediocrity.