In 2002, Killswitch Engage released their major label debut Alive or Just Breathing. It gave birth to the evergrowing metalcore genre and continues to inspire many to this day.
Jesse Leach then decided to bow out due to personal problems and the band continued with Howard Jones from Blood Has Been Shed, evolving into one of the biggest acts in the metal world.
Although KSE have continued getting bigger, many fans feel they have never recaptured the magic of Alive…
During the downtime following his back surgery, KSE guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz decided to demo some new material and asked Leach if he wanted to contribute. Times Of Grace was born, and their debut release The Hymn of a Broken Man has finally seen the light of day.
With Dutkiewicz providing all the instrumentation over the whole album, it comes to as no surprise that a good portion is similar to Killswitch Engage with heavy staccato, chugging riffs and drum passages. Songs such as “Where the Spirit Leads Me”, “Hymn of a Broken Man” and “Worlds Apart” are shining examples and could have easily fit on Alive or Just Breathing without being a contrived carbon copy.
However, what makes The Hymn of a Broken Man unique is the different directions and influences throughout the album. There is a bit of an upbeat, almost poppier edge in the bright and vibrant opener “Strength in Numbers” and “Live in Love”, some doom/stoner rock in “Fall From Grace” and “Fight for Life” and somewhat of a shoegaze/atmospheric feel in the emotionally fueled composition “The End of Eternity”. “The Forgotten One” with its acoustic-driven country vibe was one track that made me raise my eyebrow. But with a few listens it grew on me and turned out to be one of the best representations of Leach’s versatility as a vocalist.
The Hymn of a Broken Man is quite an ambitious release from the Times of Grace duo. It could have been another bland metalcore release like KSE’s disappointing 2009 self-titled album, yet due to the different influences thrown into the musical pot, it transcends that and forges an identity of its own.
1. Strength in Numbers
2. Fight For Life
4. Where the Spirit Leads Me
5. Until the End of Days
6. Live in Love
7. In the Arms of Mercy
8. Hymn of a Broken Man
9. The Forgotten One
10. Hope Remains
11. The End of Eternity
12. Worlds Apart