Releasing a live recording of a show that hasn’t been performed in front of an audience is a cheeky move. Although when KILLSWITCH COMMITMENT are involved, the better to tag it. live at palladium is a record of firsts. Not only is this technically the band’s first live album, but it also features complete parts of the Atonement (2019) and eponymous records (2000). Captured from last year Vaccinated and intoxicated livestream event, the 20 tracks are split across two discs.
En route to Unleashedthe single guitar metal ring fills the space nicely. Jesse Leach commands the ear with a single shout, his voice stands the test of time thanks to extensive vocal training. The crack of Adam Dutkiewicz and Joel StroetzelThe guitars after the raucous second chorus carry the same weight as the studio recording. Whereas Dutkiewiczbackground grunts are slightly faster than Leach‘s timing, the dynamic duo always works well together. As the song reaches its climax, the lack of a crowd begins to show and makes the bridge less punchy.
For those who expect a certain howard jones to honour Warning lights, obvious restrictions at the time meant that this simply could not happen. Still Leach and DutkiewiczThe harmonies are just as good. We begin to hear the marvelous mix of hardcore and metal that makes KILLSWITCH COMMITMENT the metalcore heavyweights we know them as. The hardcore groove of Warning lights is melodious against the calls of “broken, hopeless”. Us against the worldthe melodic intro of merges with Justin Foleyhammers the drums to create a toasting point that LeachMilitant vocal delivery pushes to the extreme. While the brutality of The Uncrowned King is relentless in his vitriol. Although there are rasp points to Leachit is undeniable that this leader demands recognition in his performance.
KILLSWITCH COMMITMENTThe constant theme of overcoming mental health becomes more poignant as we find ourselves in the midst of the pandemic. With many of us emerging from this difficult time with some form of anxiety or other affliction; I’m broken too and As sure as the sun will rise take on new meanings. The first allows each instrument to breathe within the group. Although some elements have been compromised for the live setting, nothing glaringly missing other than the sense of closeness. Regarding the latter, we find DutkiewiczThe voice of could have been louder to reinforce the relentless nature of the song. It’s the silence after”Drawn from darkness / Reborn into light” that hits like a freight train and inspires us to dream of living KILLSWITCH COMMITMENT To display.
This feeling does not fade with the Leviathan know your enemy. The spiraling riffs combined with the undulating rhythm section are divine to listen to. Taking up the mantle of the militant preacher, Leachbarks from “do not bow down to anyone” are huge. The mosh appeal of “the target is in sight” and the thick breakdown that comes after makes us appreciate KILLSWITCH COMMITMENTmusical prowess after all these years. Take controlthe story of beingTrapped in the clutches of my own indecision» huddled against a more melodic intro than usual draws us into a state of empathy Leach is famous for. The isolated vocals at the end of the song highlight Leachbut it is with Bite the hand that feeds you really hear the power of this leader. Hardcore energy dominates the roost with a heavy bass riff of Mike D’Antonio. As the melody creeps in, we become unstable, allowing Leach to storm the doors and deliver a frontal assault of visceral barking.
Belatedly celebrating the 20th anniversary of KILLSWITCH COMMITMENTfrom the self-titled disc, we find that the intermission that had played during the live event was skipped. While it’s not a huge loss for the record, it’s chilling to have very little of the band’s lyrics between songs. The chaotic energy of The temple seen from the insideThe riffs quickly sweep away these doubts. If we look to compare the two albums, it’s completely different KILLSWITCH COMMITMENT. In line and energy. With Justin Foley playing many of these songs live for the first time, and the rest of the band revisiting the material after many years, this KILLSWTCH ENGAGE feels rejuvenated. See Infra strikes with the weight of a hammer, Irreversibilitythe use of space in frenetic energy brings the two elements of KILLSWITCH COMMITMENT together. Leachthe cries of “kiss Me“at the top of an infectious furrow feeds nostalgia for simpler times.
The reintroduction of these classics KILLSWITCH COMMITMENT the songs come at a wonderfully welcome time. We find ourselves appreciating the band a lot more than we maybe had when Atonement first exit. Absence makes the heart grow fonder after all. Leachguttural rumbles in Irreversibility and Rusty Embrace show the work he put into his voice over the years. Even if it is with born from the ground we see the difference between then and now. Ripening KILLSWITCH COMMITMENT did sonically only benefit their older hardware. In terms of a live album, the vastness of this track could have benefited from a certain crowd, but these songs are so compact in nature that they may not be noticeable to the casual listener.
The most important thing we take away from the self-titled reading is how close these songs are. In the live-streamed event, this record was played in the Palladium‘s “club room” which gave him this rabid energy. For those listening to audio only, that warm feeling we’d normally get from a mosh pit or just being in a room mid-show conveys incredibly well. In the blind feeds the incestuous being of this disc by drawing inspiration from the piece which precedes it. The wonderful thing about a policy KILLSWITCH COMMITMENT song is that the band gets the chance to stretch their hardcore legs in a way that other material just can’t. This urgency of dutyenter the blind“fills us with adrenaline from opportunity to”take back your life”. When set to low, slow riffs that barely penetrate us, this penultimate song is pure metalcore perfection.
With live at palladium come to an end with barely breathing from 2002 Alive or just breathingwe are facing a marriage of the two KILLWITCH COMMITMENT entities. Not in terms of Jones versus. Leach but of innocence and experience. We hear the improvements Leach did with his voice. The band as a sonic unit is much tighter when the two are compared. Although not the pinnacle of live albums, it can be used as a reflective tool on one of metal’s most prolific bands. Although we can’t score this record on introspection as much as we would like. Releasing a live album with no crowd reaction seems misjudged in places, but it still shows KILLSWTCH ENGAGE are a band to be reckoned with in the live arena.
Live At The Palladium is set for release on June 3 via Metal Blade Records.
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