An interesting release from Killswitch Engage, metalcore royalty who at the beginning of 2020 had just commenced touring their latest album Atonement. But found themselves heading home as the pandemic struck, licking their wounds and unable to take one of their strongest records out on the road, for shows that included support from former vocalist Howard Jones’s band Light The Torch; Atonement featuring the crushing track (‘The Signal Fire’) which saw Jones trading vocals with current (and original) singer Jesse Leach, and the tour providing the perfect opportunity for both frontmen to hit the stage together.
Fast forward to August 2021, and Killswitch performed a streaming event recorded at The Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts, a hometown venue where they performed Atonement in full, along with their self-titled debut album from twenty years earlier.
The Atonement set kicks off with the powerful ‘Unleashed’, where the haunting leads of guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz introduce Leach’s mesmerising clean vocals, showing that this is a metal singer at the very top of his game. The Leach and Jones vocal duet is of course a highlight, along with ‘The Crownless King’, a particularly heavy cut, and the hardcore influenced ‘Know Your Enemy’.
Their new material shows just how far the band have come in terms of songwriting ability, but it’s an interesting comparison listening to both records back to back, and tracks like ‘Vide Infra’, ‘Irreversal’ and ‘Soilborn’ from the debut, show a band that were heavier, raw, and about to take the world by storm.
Live albums generally sink or swim on their sound and production value and thankfully Live At The Palladium (Metal Blade) released as a double LP and CD with a live Blu Ray) sounds great, as you would expect it to with everything having been carefully set up for the performance. It is still brave to release any live album in this day and age however, when the internet is bursting with bootlegs, however Killswitch are a generational band and one of the few that can get away with such a release.
For the collectors among their fans, this offers the opportunity to own a part of their history, recorded during a unique and unprecedented time.
Buy the album here: https://www.metalblade.com/killswitchengage
8 / 10