Heavy metal used to be as impersonal as Ingmar Bergman flicks. During the heyday of thrash in the late '80s and early '90s, bands spoke in broad sociopolitical platitudes, warning of global warming (Testament, Nuclear Assault), homelessness (Anthrax, Overkill), and, uh, man-eating fish (Exodus) in generic terms.
But with the rise of metalcore, bands have become more comfortable pinning their hearts to their sleeves (granted, this is heavy metal, where sleeves are as rare as sobriety, but you get the point). No group better exemplifies this heightened emotiveness than Massachusetts's Killswitch Engage, metalcore's brightest hope, as exemplified by the band's third LP, The End of Silence, released last week.
New frontman Howard Jones growls like Satan with a stubbed toe, but then the chorus hits, and his vocals soar as if his larynx has wings. The brittle riffs of guitarists Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel Stroetzel coil around one another like mating pythons, but it's all leavened by pretty acoustic interludes and frank lyrics. When Jones bellows, "You and I will be transformed" toward the end, we hope the dudes in Nevermore are listening up.
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