Article by PJ Cornell.
Syndicated from the Asterisked Music Journal.
Assessment: 10 out of 10.
Bottom line up front: While this band’s ultra-intense brand of metalcore may not be for everyone, I would nevertheless venture to say that it is, quite possibly, the greatest album of any genre to be put out in recent years. (Full disclosure: I’ve been a fan of this band for a while; I’ve liked them ever since I heard their album Alive or Just Breathing, and every since they released The End of Heartache, I’ve considered them to be my favorite band — so I’ve got a strong, pro-KsE bias).
Highlights: Jesse Leach comes screaming back with a holy, fiery vengeance, shaking Hell itself to its core with songs like The New Awakening (“I… WILL… NOT… LIVE… IN… FEAR!” — their best song of the album, which is sure to inspire riotous moshing in the audience), A Tribute to the Fallen (“In the end, we will not stand alone!”), and, of course, the rhythmically aggressive Beyond the Flames. Their slowest, most exotic, and gorgeously romantic song, Always, is, paradoxically, perhaps also the most intense song of the release. A masterpiece.
Criticisms: None. I love that Mr. Leach is back with the band. My heart goes out to Howard Jones, as he struggles with his diabetes.
Conclusion: This is an incredibly powerful album which, in a time of political upheaval, rising tempers, escalating tensions, and deep spiritual awakening, is both timeless, and very much a phenomenon of its time and place. If you are a man prone to trembling with righteous ire, if you are praying man, if you experience feelings of open aggression to the accelerating creep of tyranny, lies and injustice all around you, and if you are frustrated by the domination of fear and insecurity in our world, then this is the band and album for you.