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Killswitch Engage - Atonement: Review

Killswitch Engage have returned with a brand new studio album and their first on Metal Blade records and third since the return of vocalist Jesse Leach.

The album opens with the first single Unleashed but the biggest draw to Atonement is the second track, The Signal Fire, a furious, pure Killswitch track featuring ex-KSE vocalist Howard Jones.

Jones replaced Leach going into 2004’s The End of Heartache, the band’s second studio effort and would hold the stewardship until Leach’s return for Disarm the Descent which dropped in 2013. The Signal Fire sees Leach and Jones face off and accompanies a killer video (below) of the two in a match up fans have wanted to see for a while. The track is easily one of the strongest on the record, chugging along nicely, showcasing both vocalists range and featuring the deep, death metal like growls that pepper the entire album.

Another big name feature on Atonement is Testament frontman, Chuck Billy, who shows up on The Crownless King, another incredibly strong track. Longstanding KSE axe man Adam Dutkiewicz delivers some mesmerising guitar work worthy of a Chuck Billy appearance, Chuck’s vocal work contrasts with Leach perfectly and pays off, although the metalcore “Blegh’s” feel unnecessary and unwarranted, a small black mark on an otherwise stellar track.

I Am Broke Too Is a personal favourite, the powerful and moving lyrics that Leach had tattooed show how much this song and it’s subject matter of undying support and love for another means to the frontman. This song is probably one of the most important on the record and will be a source of inspiration and comfort for many we’re sure.

From here, the second half of the album doesn't offer much in the way of stand out tracks, it’s business and usual for the second half. It's an enjoyable listen but nothing jumps out quite like the first half and feels like the foot was taken slightly off the gas to bring the record home.

That being said, this is possible one of the stronger records since Leach’s return, solely based on the first half, which says a lot. Had they replicated that energy and approach for the second half we’d have one hell of a record on our hands.

Atonement is out now on Metal Blade Records

Rating 6.5/10