Times Of Grace
The Hymn Of A Broken Man
Alive Or Just Breathing came out May 21, 2002; and since then, it’s influence can be heard in countless contemporary acts from around the world. Killswitch Engage’s Roadrunner debut (their second release) changed modern music as the world would know it; creating a new sound and approach to the way music, lyrics, and culture would be interpreted by bands. AOJB influenced bands from all genres: Contemporary Metal and Hardcore bands from the states and UK; Melodic Death Metal bands in Scandinavia and Europe (who would have possibly even influenced KSE at one time); some last standing Nu Metal bands; all the way to Punk and Emo bands, and even some Modern Rock bands.
It wasn’t just the musical sound of Killswitch that all bands started looking to for inspiration; the lyrical style of Jesse Leach has very obviously been copied to endless account by numerous acts spanning more than the aforementioned genres. The social and cultural elements that KSE presented as a band were soon even imitated - from the fashion of the band, to the gear used live or on album, even the stage moves of most of the band members (there has yet to be a good Adam D impersonation on stage…).
Adam D and Jesse Leach each have their own unique sound, that is instantly recognizable by fans of their work- and with Jesse’s departure from KSE, things were still great, but never quite the same as Alive… until now.
Times Of Grace started out as a whisper of a potential project for outsiders, that eventually became a full on realization to people. I am an incredibly huge fan of Killswitch Engage, and without Alive Or Just Breathing, I feel that my style wouldn’t have fully ever come into what it’s become; so when I was passed The Hymn Of A Broken Man (secretly) before it’s release, I was incredibly stoked. Being able to have listened to the record for the last month or so before being asked to write this review, it feels just like the first time I ever got my hands on Alive.
The Hymn Of A Broken Man is everything that is loved about Alive Or Just Breathing, only so much more. It’s musically and lyrically familiar, while at the same time delving so much deeper on all fronts of ability, musicianship, and depth.
The record feels perfect. Sonically, it captures everything that is Adam and Jesse - ridiculously tight (but still emotive) guitars and drums; displaying Adam’s fusion of Melodic Death Metal/ Hardcore/ Metal rhythms, Gothenburg/ Post-hardcore/ emo/ punk- laced melodies, mesmerizing Post-Metal/ atmospheric arpeggiated cleans; while Jesse is more versatile than ever: ranging from low emotive singing into a blisteringly high singing range that will surely leave other vocalists feeling like they were born with the wrong range. Jesse’s classic scream is back as well- but this time it feels even more visceral and eviscerating.
All I have of the record so far is the mp3’s and a small photo of the cover; so I don’t have the actual lyrics, but from what I have heard - I love the lyrics. Leach is someone who puts positivity into his lyrics in a very intense manner; I have heard the imitators of his style- and it’s transparent, however Jesse’s approach to spirituality and self make you look inward; his lyrics speak in a way that I feel no matter what religion someone is or isn’t, these lyrics can apply in a deep way.
It isn’t all positivity on Hymn however. The songs that feeler darker lyrically feel very dark; with the appropriate use of having such light to the vocals, when the more sinister sounding topics come in- it makes it all the more intense. Even the packaging and look of Times Of Grace is refreshing - they’re not doing things the way everyone else is; this was a very conscious effort of a project to create something familiar but new.
As far as the songs go on the record, every single one fits the album perfectly. They do vary in style of what you’ll see Times Of Grace doing: stuff that has a southerny metal tinge to it; to melodic death metal pedal tone rhythms; to fast black metal influenced vocal and musical approaches; ultra-tight kick drum/ guitar breakdown syncopation; vibey, dark clean passages; impossibly huge, catchy, layered choruses; to an end-of-the-world sounding folk guitar and vocal song.
This CD will be impossible to define in one bracket of genre-defining; but that’s what is so great about every time Adam and Jesse create together- they make something new. Something that can change the way all scenes do it. This CD needs to be pushed and delivered to all the ears of music fans around the world. Roadrunner needs to push this album, Times Of Grace needs to tour, bands need to tour with TOG. The music world needs a band like Times Of Grace. Times Of Grace’s The Hymn Of A Broken Man is without a doubt, one of the best albums of our time.