It was a long, manifold night at Huxleys. Fans of Killswitch Engage know their pioneering approach to metal – their knack to fuse it with hardcore, paving the way for metalcore, yet at the same time adding a melodic twis. Along with their support bands, it made for a journey through what metal has to offer.
Killswitch Engage have recently released their eighth studio album, Atonement. Before they embarked on their promotional tour for it, they were travelling the world with Parkway Drive, a fellow big name in the metalcore scene. It’s safe to assume the majority of the guests would be familiar with both bands. For the tour in Germany, they approached things a little differently: it was time for musicians who made their home within different subgenres of metal.
Tenside are almost from around the corner: hailing from Munich, they’ve been releasing chart-topping tracks since 2004. Rooted in nu metal, the band slowly ditched the hip hop influenced genre for trash metal and hardcore punk. Not quite metalcore yet, is their later material attributed to groove- and modern metal. Their poignant support set was dominated by songs from their latest album, Convergence.
American band Revocation continue with an immersive display of the tougher variety. Their technical death metal showcases a brilliant, experimental grasp of the instruments. The songs are heavy, elaborate, making use of all the trickery of their genre. We may have to thank their good pal Satan for it, they imply.
It’s past 10pm already when Killswitch Engage come on at last. Unleashed, they are indeed. Vocalist Jesse Leach bounces around the stage energetically – which, by the way, is decorated with pieces of Atonement’s album cover all over. During sing-along-anthem Hate By Design, and new song The Crownless King, Leach lounges into the crowd. Skillfully he utilises the wooden counters of Huxley’s elevated viewing areas to make his way around. With twenty years of stage performances under their belt, the frequent interactions with the animated crowd won’t come as a surprise. My Last Serenade or I Am Broken Too, with their vulnerable lyrics, are a bit of an outlier in the metal scene. Killswitch Engage have made it a point throughout their career to spread positivity in their words. Such songs are used to assure one is not the only person suffering.
It turns out to be a massive set. About half of Atonement is played. Bits and pieces from the past show up. The popular My Curse, melancholic Rose of Sharyn, or their cover of Dio’s Holy Diver – but throughout it all the band never runs out of steam.
The Atonement tour continues until the end of the year, with stops in Europe and South America, including a few more gigs in Germany. You wouldn’t want to sleep on it.