Sunday, 3 May 2020

EP Review: KILLSWITCH ENGAGE - Atonement II B-Sides for Charity

Killswitch Engage - Atonement II B-Sides for Charity


01. To The Great Beyond
02. Hollow Convictions
03. Killing Of Leviathan
04. No Devotion
05. I Feel Alive Again
06. Prophets Of Treason


Well, this is very cool! As you probably know, most bands write more songs than they need for an album, then pick the best ones or the tracks which sit best together. The others either never see the light of day or materialise as B-Sides or on a 'rarities compilation'. 

Killswitch Engage have just released their left over tracks from their latest album Atonement (read my review here) to raise money for the current Covid-19 crisis. Due to the current lockdown, it is only available as a digital download from their Bandcamp page. You can name your price, so if you are financially struggling right now, you can have it for as little as a dollar. Obviously, if you can afford more, please do so. Considering how massive their worldwide fanbase is, this is a fantastic way for them to generate funds right now, so props to Killswitch Engage and their label Metal Blade. CLICK HERE to go and get your copy.

As vocalist Jesse Leach states on the page:

"These songs didn't make the final cut for 'Atonement'," says Leach. "Choosing which songs make an album remains a tough process for me. While the songs that made the most sense appear on the album, I'm still attached to every song I write. So, when the idea came up to put these B-Sides out and donate funds to a charity, I was relieved at the idea and the band unanimously agreed to the cause. I am proud these songs get to see a release, and to help others in the process is a huge bonus."

He continues, "These songs were written during a very difficult and uncertain time of my life. They are written with two perspectives: that of a struggling, angry, frustrated man having a crisis of faith, life, and love and a man finding the will and the strength to change perspective, try again, and to fight through it all. Although these songs may not have made the cut for the album, they are deeply meaningful songs that I believe in whole heartedly. Lyrically, they are some of my favorites that I have written. From the very personal 'Hollow Convictions,' 'No Devotion,' and 'I Feel Alive Again,' to the battle cry songs of 'Killing of Leviathan,' 'Prophets of Treason,' and 'The Great Beyond,' it tells the story of my journey and my view of the world around me."

The singer finishes, "Big thanks to Metal Blade for partnering up with us on this! Also thank you to Center for Disaster Philanthropy for their amazing work! Lastly, thanks to all of you for purchasing the songs and contributing to helping those who are in desperate need during these uncertain times."

Atonement II is a real treat. These songs are all very strong and it's hard to understand why some of them didn't make the final record.

Opener, To The Great Beyond, starts off like some kind of blast-beat riddled Pirate Metal, before venturing into more familiar Metalcore territories. It's a really cool track and something a little different from their norm, but with plenty of familiar elements too.

Hollow Convictions is a slower track and oozes passion. It's very much a 'business-as-usual' song and is as strong as most of the songs on the main album. The same can be said for fast Thrash monster that is Killing Of Leviathan. It's a short, sweet, and very welcome surge of muscular rage that I'm sure will get the mosh pits churning when life gets back to normal and we can go to gigs again.

No Devotion is my favourite track here and is classic Killswitch Engage. That lead guitarwork reminds me of their hit My Curse, but is different enough to be its own beast. Why this didn't make the cut for Atonement is anyone's guess.

I Feel Alive is an upbeat track, and dare I say, happy? Well, happy with lots of uplifting shouting and crushing riffs. Mixed with some fantastic melodic vocals, this is another great song. The joy doesn't last long, as the dark and menacing Prophets Of Treason finishes off the EP with a subtle Alice In Chains kinda vibe. The melodic vocals, as with many of their songs, adds a glorious contrast, giving the song plenty of depth, as well as providing some unescapable hooks that make you want to hit the repeat button.

Atonement II is a superb collection of songs that stand up to the tracks on the full-length album in terms of writing, performance and production. If you're a fan, there is no reason why you shouldn't go and get a copy of this EP right now.  

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