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Killswitch Engage Alive Or Just Breathing?

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Killswitch Engage - Alive Or Just Breathing?
01. Numbered Days
02. Self Revolution
03. Fixation on the Darkness
04. My Last Serenade
05. Life to Lifeless
06. Just Barely Breathing
07. To the Sons of Man
08. Temple from the Within
09. The Element of One
10. Vida Infra
11. Without a Name
12. Rise Inside
2002 Roadrunner Records

OUR SCORE
8
USER SCORE
-
Reviewed by: Geoff Harman   //   Published: 9/30/2002
Rarely does an album come along that seemingly everyone is unanimous in rejoicing its sheer brilliance. From what I've seen, "Alive or Just Breathing" appears to be one of those albums. Following the little known, and scarcely distributed self-titled debut release, Killswitch Engage bursts out into the mainstream public eye in a big way. Even this shortly after their first major label release, Killswitch Engage's popularity is sure to grow in leaps and bounds.Despite scattered declarations of this album being more "nu-metal" rather than hardcore, the fact remains that this is one of the most powerful releases that the scene has had in years.

Musically, "Alive or Just Breathing" is a masterpiece. There is a very wide variety in almost every aspect of the spectrum, from singing, to screaming, to growling; and then from melody, to utter chaos; even the simplest of nuances in every track is flawless. There is not a missed beat anywhere. It's impressive really, because every track is virtually seamless, they just flow perfectly. There is scarcely moment that a listener may think to him/herself that a guitar riff, or lyric should not have been placed there. Although many could argue that the tracks are too "over-produced", especially with the obviously layered vocals and guitars, I personally enjoy quote-unquote over-produced albums; it enables the listener to hear something that maybe they didn't hear the previous time around, or wouldn't perceive at all.

Aside from the stunning melodic elements on tracks like "My Last Serenade" or "The Element of One", "Alive or Just Breathing" also incorporates brutality currently unmatched by any band in hardcore today ("Numbered Days", "Fixation on the Darkness"). Even with much of the viciousness being portrayed within the music, the lyrics display much more of a positive vibe. [Former] vocalist Jessie Leech sheds light on a little bit of a different concept, one that isn't too prevelant in the hardcore world; and that is overcoming inner struggle with positivity ("Self Revolution", "Temple From the Within").One of my favorite lyrics throughout the entire album is on "Rise Inside": "If I stand alone, I'll fight for you", very powerful.

This album is also a "call to arms" if you will. Many of the lyrics also express the ideas of revolution against oppression, not only oppression from the powers around you, but also oppression from yourself; a mental revolution. This idea is directly drawn from the spiritual undertow swirling within the band.There is a vulgar passion residing in the music of Killswitch Engage, one so strong that when someone hears it, they feel truly it.

Bottom Line: When I first heard the demo version of "Numbered Days," I was so stoked for this album to come out.As you could probably imagine, my every expectation was met, and surpassed. "Alive or Just Breathing" is an album that everyone will be talking about for a while to come, and when the time comes for Killswitch Engage to release a new record, with new vocalist Howard Jones, we will all be much prepared and very anxious.So if you have been one of the unfortunate few that have yet to partake in this album, I assure that you will not be disappointed in any way, shape or form.

Comments
Chaosphere_   posted 3/27/2007 12:31:32 AM
One of the best metal albums of all time.
anonymous   posted 11/9/2006 2:26:59 PM
RISE INSIDE! FREE YOUR MIND! RAISE YOUR FISTTT SIGNIFY WEEE STANDING DEFIENT ... i could go on forever BEST SONG EVER f*ck
logan_   posted 9/11/2006 8:54:21 AM
this will be my last serenade... excuse the pun.
i have put in several posts and read several reviews on my fave bands.
every time i have left this site disgusted.
you are all so shallow... lose the desire to care about what others say and do.
for more detail on becoming a more true person, read my posts on either in flames, scar symmetry,
shadows fall or soilwork.
alternatively start a journey to discover more about yourself and the worlds around and within you... theres guidance everywhe
logan_   posted 9/11/2006 8:45:59 AM
"One of my favorite lyrics throughout the entire album is on "Rise Inside": "If I stand alone, I'll fight for you", very powerful.

This album is also a "call to arms" if you will. Many of the lyrics also express the ideas of revolution against oppression, not only oppression from the powers around you, but also oppression from yourself; a mental revolution. This idea is directly drawn from the spiritual undertow swirling within the band. There is a vulgar passion residing in the music of Kill
logan_   posted 9/11/2006 8:42:52 AM
cant help but notice hardly anyone comments on the arlier albums by the bands ive read.
this suggests to me there are few true metal sons here.

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