One thing longtime Killswitch fans will notice, especially if you missed 2011’s Times Of Grace project by Leach and guitarist Adam D., is how much more potent Leach’s vocals are now. His melodic singing is really strong, and the harsh vocals are emotional and passionate.
Disarm The Descent is a little more intense than their 2009 self-titled effort, but still has plenty of melody and hooks. That’s made crystal clear with the opening track “The Hell In Me,” which delivers an opening punch to the chops before easing up with a catchy chorus. There’s plenty of commercial appeal, but also a bit more crunch.
Killswitch has always been relatively economical in their song lengths, and that is also the case here. Most of the tracks clock in around the three minute mark, with the longest about 4 and a half minutes. They get right to the point, whether it be a hook, a riff or a verse.
The band really hits their stride on “The New Awakening,” with great guitar work from Adam D. and Joel Stroetzel including a brief but powerful solo. Leach also showcases his full vocal arsenal, from impassioned shrieks to hardcore barks to melodic singing, with some gang vocals that add an extra bit of diversity.
The album is packed with excellent songs, with only a couple of lulls. Some of the highlights of the latter half of the record are the galloping “All We Have” and the more moderately paced “Always.” After giving up some of the production reins last time around, Dutkiewicz has reclaimed his rightful place at the console, and the album is better off for it.
The Killswitch Engage of 2013 aren’t the raw force of nature they were during Leach’s first stint with the band. They have harnessed and focused their energy and are more skilled and polished. Disarm The Descent reflects that maturity, but also shows a band that sounds recharged and ready for a new era to begin.
(released April 2, 2013 on Roadrunner Records)