New York, NY (Top40 Charts/ RoadRunner Records)
You've watched teasers for every song over the last few weeks, now go here for the full Times of Grace
album stream exclusively at Artist Direct. The Hymn of a Broken Man is released next week on January 18th. The band's first tour kicks off in less than three weeks. Get dates and tickets here
Trivium are also releasing an album this year and frontman Matt Heafy took some time away from writing to pen a review of Times of Grace's new album. Read that review below!
Alive Or Just Breathing came out May 21, 2002; and since then, its influence can be heard in countless contemporary metal acts from around the world. Killswitch Engage's Roadrunner debut (their second release) was a heavy music game changer; it created a new sound and approach to the way metal music, lyrics, and culture would be interpreted. AOJB went beyond just metal and influenced bands from all genres: contemporary metal and hardcore bands from the US and UK; melodic death metal bands in Scandinavia and Europe (who would have possibly even influenced KSE at one time); some last standing nu metal bands; all the way to punk and emo bands and even some modern rock bands.
It wasn't just the musical sound of Killswitch that all bands started looking to for inspiration; the lyrical style of Jesse Leach has very obviously been copied to endless account by numerous acts spanning more than the aforementioned genres. The social and cultural elements that KSE presented as a band were soon even imitated - from the fashion of the band, to the gear used live or on album, even the stage moves of most of the band members (but there has yet to be a good Adam D impersonation on stage...).
Adam D and Jesse Leach each have their own unique sound that is instantly recognizable by fans of their work and for me with Jesse's departure from KSE, things were still great with KSE, but never quite the same as Alive... until now.
Times Of Grace started out as a whisper of a potential project for outsiders that eventually became a full on realization. I am an incredibly huge fan of Killswitch Engage, and without Alive Or Just Breathing, I feel that my style wouldn't have fully ever come into what it's become; so when I was passed The Hymn Of A Broken Man (secretly) before its release, I was incredibly stoked. Being able to have listened to the record for the last month or so before being asked to write this review, it feels just like the first time I ever got my hands on Alive.
The Hymn Of A Broken Man is everything that I loved about Alive Or Just Breathing, only so much more. It's musically and lyrically familiar, while at the same time delving so much deeper on all fronts of ability, intensity, musicianship and depth.
The record feels "perfect". Sonically, it captures everything that is Adam and Jesse - ridiculously tight (but still emotive) guitars and drums; displaying Adam's fusion of Melodic Death Metal/ Hardcore/ Metal rhythms, Gothenburg/ Post-hardcore/ emo/ punk- laced melodies, mesmerizing Post-Metal/ atmospheric arpeggiated cleans; while Jesse is more versatile than ever: ranging from low emotive singing into a blisteringly high singing range that will surely leave other vocalists feeling like they were born with the wrong range. Jesse's classic scream is back as well- but this time it feels even more visceral. His voice just makes you feel he really means what he is singing.
All I have of the record so far is the mp3's and a small photo of the cover; so I don't have the actual lyrics, but from what I have heard - I love the lyrics. Leach is someone who puts positivity into his lyrics in a very intense manner; I have heard the imitators of his style and it's transparent. However Jesse's approach to spirituality and self make you look inward and his lyrics speak in a way that I feel no matter what religion someone is or isn't these lyrics can apply in a deep way.
It isn't all positivity on Hymn however. The songs that feeler darker lyrically are full of despair. With the appropriate use of having such positivity to some of the vocals makes the more sinister sounding topics come all the more intense. Even the packaging and look of Times Of Grace is refreshing; they're not doing things the way everyone else is and this was a very conscious effort of a project to create something familiar but new.
As far as the songs go on the record, every single one fits the album in my opinion. They do vary in style; southern sludge metal to melodic death metal pedal tone rhythms to fast black metal influenced vocal and musical approaches. All of this is supported by ultra-tight kick drum/ guitar breakdown syncopation, vibey dark/clean passages and impossibly huge, catchy, layered choruses. There is even to an end-of-the-world sounding folk guitar and vocal song. Awesome.
This CD will be impossible to define in one bracket of genre-defining, but that's what is so great about every time Adam and Jesse create together is that they make something new. I hope this record can change the scenes in the same way that AOJB did. This is an important album. Roadrunner needs to push this album, Times Of Grace needs to tour, bands need to tour with TOG. The music world needs a band like Times Of Grace. Times Of Grace's The Hymn Of A Broken Man is without a doubt, one of the best albums of our time.