Awesome!! I’m usually the first to berate those of us that use Americanisms, but ‘awesome’ is the only word I can think of that best describes this album. ‘The End Of Heartache’ was Killswitch Engage‘s third studio album and was originally released in May 2004. This new limited edition version features an extra disc with a couple of unreleased and live tracks as well as a few of the videos.

Having never actually heard any of Killswitch Engage‘s stuff before, you could say I was kind of a ‘heartached virgin’ to them. Well, all I can say is that my cherry has well and truly been popped! The first track ‘A Bid Farewell‘ really sets both the pace and the mark that the rest of the album follows with accomplished ease. Starting with a deep and dirty drum and bass riff that sounds like something straight out of the first Korn album, it soon turns into the bastard love child of early Iron Maiden and Glassjaw. Classic double timed Metal guitar runs fuse into an elated, melodic chorus which proves to be a very welcome break from the grunting that had preceded in the verse. Not that the grunting in any of the songs is particularly bad, but I do find it a little tiresome after a while, especially when that style of vocal work has become so overused in so many different genres.

The rest of the album pretty much follows suit from this opener with a very rawkus, not over produced, rough and ready sound that isn’t too far away from the Sick Of it All from the nineties. They tease you as well on this CD. Track 5, the aptly titled ‘Inhale’, allows you take a breath with its calming, clean, ballad-esque guitar work. At this point you are thinking, “Is this track going to be their Every Rose has its Thorn?” Thankfully not, as it is just a little short instrumental filler to give you a break before the next brain haemorrhaging musical experience.

The title track of this album is probably my favourite. Being a huge Faith No More fan, I always wondered how they might have faired if they had kept the Metal-tastic Jim Martin in the band. ‘The End of Heartache’ (Track 7) is probably the nearest thing I could imagine FNM sounding like in that scenario. This is a slower, more emotional song that manages not lose any of it’s bollocks along the way. Heart warming Mike Patton styled vocals (effects and all) interact with a serene flowing guitar line that makes you tingle with each chord change. This eventually culminates into a rich screaming fest with riffage that just makes you want to grow your hair long again and fuck up your neck like the days of old! Bloody brilliant!

The second disc is a lot harder than the actual album. The previously unreleased tracks have less of an immediate melody in them, but still have that raw edged bitterness that is apparent in the first disc. There is also a nice little alternative version of the title track which has been differently mixed both in arrangement and audio production. I personally prefer the album version as the remix is slightly more radio friendly.

The live tracks sound tight and are of a good quality. These certainly give the impression that Killswitch are more than capable of ‘Laying the Smackdown on your candy asses’ live. I will personally be looking to get a hold of their other releases if they are even half as powerful as this album. If you don’t like the sound of this band, then I imagine you’d be better suited to the latest, impending Shakin’ Stevens offering!

sami