Nearly fifteen years ago, current Killswitch Engage members Jesse Leach and Adam Dutkiewicz teamed up to birth the collaborative project Times of Grace. This dynamic duo pushed their creative boundaries by conjuring a fresh take on the heavy-yet-melodic sound. They delivered their debut album, The Hymn of a Broken Man (Roadrunner Records) in 2011. The gloom and aggression let loose on that record was ignited by the brutally honest songwriting. The themes of struggle, heartbreak, and hope were potently delivered with a real and plaintive spirit. These two brought forth a discovery of powerful melancholy and now ten years later, they are offering a sequel to that revelation. Their second full-length Songs of Loss and Separation (Wicked Good Records) is carrying on the melodic mournfulness, yet wonderfully wholesome sound that is Times of Grace.
The opening track, ‘The Burden of Belief’ is a soulful number setting a wistful tone that hovers above and warms the rest of the record. The calm, yet poignant vocal and guitar work of Dutkiewicz welcomes the listener into what feels like a very intimate jam session. You can sense the care Dutkiewicz has for his brainchild. ‘Mend You’ and ‘Cold’ are two Modern Rock tracks with up front and catchy vocal patterns. The chug and depth in the guitar pairs perfectly with the persuasive vocal melodies. These pieces are an intensive examination of the heart, and they talk about all the emotional strain it goes through in this life. Each one of these songs are steeped in sadness and introspection. ‘Rescue’ is a strong track that swallows the soul in hope and preciousness. The snarl and edge in Leach’s voice suggests a real frustration. The pensive and ardent questions presented in the lyrics make clean cuts by both men’s vocal deliveries.
The catchy choruses and atmospheric exploration presented in these tracks and a few others like ‘Far from Heavenless’, ‘Bleed Me’, and ‘Forever’ makes each one memorable. They provide thoughtful soundscapes that guide the listener to necessary reflection. There is an ambient moodiness that is determinedly set which sways from the mellow and somber to the bleak and aggressive. The movement is nodded to newcomer drummer, Dan Gluszak, who sparks delight with his intuitive playing. The second half of the album has some standouts like ‘Medusa’. This Sludge-like number slowly slithers along with a spite that seethes with heaviness. It is a storm of intensity that thunders with thought and meaning. ‘Currents’ has a 90’s feel with a bit of a Grunge or Alternative vibe that gives it a real earnestness. The guitar playing provides an emotional narrative that hooks you into the heartfelt dialogue. The inner struggle and grief posed is loomed over with a beautiful expression of faith and light. The provocative candor that this band invokes is emulated through their powerfully dark and melodic musicianship. The raw and severely sensitive personal elements that were so elegantly projected on the first record has been carried over to this full-length and the vibrato of solemnity is taken to a new level.
Buy the album here: https://timesofgrace.ffm.to/solas
8 / 10