2019’s Atonement is the 3rd album since Jesse Leach rejoined the iconic metalcore band, Killswitch Engage. I’ll skip to the end right away and say this album is no disappointment. There are a bunch of new songs fit for any future KSE live sets or compilations.
The sound, performance and production are all top notch. More or less similar in quality to the past two albums. Sonically; it is crystal clear and perfectly produced. As classy as you can get without tipping over into overproduced. The band pound away with the same ratio of aggression and contemplation, and nail it perfectly.
Unusually for Killswitch, there is a guest vocal performance from an outisder, from Testament’s Chuck Billy. They add him over one of the thrashier songs (‘The Crownless King’) and he really suits the music. Also; in contrast to the outsider guest spot, and in a nice mirror to Jesse Leach’s guest vocal performance on The End Of Heartache, during the time that Howard Jones was the singer, now that Jesse is the singer, Howard Jones pops up here for a guest vocal performance, on the track ‘The Singal Fire.’
I’m not just saying it due to the above fact, but the best song on the album is definitely ‘The Signal Fire.’ Next time I see Killswitch I really hope they play it live.
Other highlights include the opener ‘Unleashed’ and ‘I Can’t Be The Only One’ (which I imagine will become a single and a live favourite). I am also rather fond of ‘Know You Enemy’ which channels Dimebag at times in the riffs, and the album closer ‘Bite The Hand That Feeds’ which is arguably the fastest and heaviest one on this album. There’s plenty of new songs to get excited about, and very little if any in the way of filler.
Initially I was a bit sceptical about this album before getting it, as they said it was their most diverse album to date, and then the first song they released from it, ‘I Am Broken Too’ wasn’t exactly a big rager like ‘In Due Time’ or ‘Strength Of The Mind’ or ‘This Is Absolution’ …and I feared that they might be loosing their touch. Luckily the album is not all in that style anyway. And furthermore, do you know what? The more I listen to that song, the more I like it. It may be a bit mid paced and overly earnest, but dammit if that chorus doesn’t sound better and better each time I play it. As long as there are ragers there too, it doesn’t hurt to have a calmer moment to break things up.
Overall; this is a very strong album and a welcome addition to the Killswitch catalogue. If you don’t like Killswitch already, it won’t change your mind, for all the media talk of it being their most diverse album, it pretty much sounds like modern Killswitch and nothing else for the majority of its duration, but if you like modern Killswitch you shant be disappointed, as it is an expertly performed, produced and written modern Killwitch album, and that’ll do just fine.