McDonalds or Burger King (other fast food is available), Coke or Pepsi (other cola flavoured bever.....wait...no they aren't!), Howard or Jesse. Three examples of arguments between something inherently similar but with easily identifiable distinctions. Everyone has a favourite, but most are happy to settle for the other if needs be. For the past 17 years Killswitch Engage have been building a loyal, passionate and harmlessly divided fanbase, though I get the feeling Incarnate may settle a few of these debates before they restart.
With very start Alone I Stand sounding a bit Final Countdown-esque you might think KSE are going soft. Half a minute later you're conclusively corrected as Jesse's growls are accompanied by a heavy drum beat and a grizzy riff. Killswitch are here. One of the most notable changes between Jesse 1.0 and 2.0 is the improvement in both clean and growled vocals and that is continued here. His display throughout Incarnate is consistent, but the standout track for me is Hate By Design. There are just so many levels to his performance on this song and it is instantly memorable.
Strength Of The Mind was the first single released from the album and provides a good all round look at what KSE have become. They haven't changed their style, they've just refined and perfected it. The riffs and vocals fitting together like they were created as one, emphasised in Just Let Go, are seamless and don't do justice to the effort that goes in to write them. Embrace The Journey... Upraised kicks off the mid section in just about the heaviest way possible and, despite appearing to be doing the opposite, Quiet Distress continues this.
The descent towards the end begins with It Fall On Me, a sort of anti-ballad that dials the pace down and the angst up. What is refreshing about the final three tracks is that they aren't your typical clichéd filler, they could have been anywhere else on the album and justified their spot there. What they do do though is leave you wanting more. More new songs, more live songs and just more god damned Killswitch. Another cliché would be to say something about it being 'album of the year material', but I'll you to make that decision.
Jesse...this argument is now moot. Disarm The Descent was a great album and Incarnate is another step up on that. Killswitch Engage seem to be constantly upping their game in a world where you'll likely to be get less and less for your money. They're a symbol of quality and consistency reserved for the upper echelons of metal and as the bigger names start to move on in the not too distant future, it is important to know that there is a future and it's heavy.