The Hymn Of A Broken ManIt’s been a while since Jesse Leach and Adam Dutkiewicz were on the same team. Killswitch Engage‘s cracking “Alive Or Just Breathing” was the record back in 2002. KsE moved forward with Howard Jones, and Jesse  himself threw out a belter with The Empire Shall Fall – “Awaken”  last year. So naturally when news unfolded of these two getting together once again in the form of  Times Of Grace to put out an album “The Hymn Of A Broken Man” we at TINAS sat up like meerkats eager to get our grubby paws on the collaboration.

First things first,  Times Of Grace is just Jesse Leach and Adam D,  with the latter once more stepping behind the drum-kit, as well as doing axe wielding, and shared vocal duties; impressive stuff to start off with. So, we have the engine room of KsE and the old voice of KsE… therefore there’s got to be comparisons, and the twitter debates as to where the album fits in the KsE hierarchy will no doubt continue for years.

No messing about though, this album is a corker. We’re talking the complete package, not just the odd track. Launching with “Strength In Numbers” we have a military precision track, that grabs your attention and demands respect. Artillery beats, signature Adam D riffing, haunting soundscapes and Jesse Leach vocals to chill your bones.  Quite frankly this is one of the best opening salvos for an album we have come across for a while, and if you don’t approve, you are quite simply wrong!

As you would expect from an album titled “The Hymn Of A Broken Man” there is a darkness to the record. Adam started writing it from his hospital bed following emergency surgery, and Jesse has also admitted he was also going through his own “personal Hell”. The aural landscapes are varied with the likes of  “Fight For Life” haunting in delivery from both participants. Each emotion the guys have gone through is thrown into the music, “Willing” borders on epic with the return of the military back-beats intermingled with chainsaw scrapes, inticate riffery and some of the finest vocals on the album.

This record is more than just an album; it is a journey, diverse, multifaceted and exploratory. We have metal brutality interspersed with choral melancholy (even acoustic work thrown in). “Until The End Of Days” and the title track are emotional whirlwinds, cascading soothing melodies before the music rips into your face.  The latter being a real standout track that will have Killswitch fans approving big time.

Released on January 17th through Roadrunner this album really is the mutts nuts. Yes, we love KsE and make no bones about it, and this will, and should have KsE fans flocking to buy it. But it is far more than a chapter in the Killswitch history book, this is a belting album that stands out in its own right regardless of the heritage of the two protagonists. Two people have made an album that needs to stand up and be counted, a must for metalcore fans.