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The Hymn Of A Broken Man

Roadrunner (2011)
Rating: 9/10

What happens when the guitarist of a prominent metalcore band suffers great physical pain? What about when the former vocalist for said metalcore band goes through the darkest moments of his life? They write a record of beauty, hope, and peace. Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage mastermind and producer extraordinaire) and Jesse Leach (ex-Killswitch Engage / Seemless, The Empire Shall Fall) have created an album akin to the KsE catalog. And while I’m partial to current Killswitch singer Howard Jones’ vocals and lyrics, Times Of Grace certainly rivals anything in today’s metal market.

From anthem opener and lead single ‘Strength In Numbers’ to the sludge of the last half of ‘Until The End Of Days’, the disc is chock full of heaviness, splendour, and force. Adam D. handled all of the instruments and some vocals, and the full range of his talent is emphasized. His drumming is as good as his guitar playing; his clean and screamed vocal lines are as good as his production hand. Leach’s vocals have matured in the nine years since he left KsE, and this is certainly his performance of a lifetime. Musical diversity is also on full display with the blues tinged ‘The Forgotten One’, the instrumental segue ‘In The Arms Of Mercy’, and the plodding and meandering ballad ‘The End Of Eternity.’

The lyrical subject matter is a highpoint with themes of struggle (‘Fight For Life’), passion (‘Live In Love’), the pang of guilt (‘Worlds Apart’), and desperation (‘Fall From Grace’). But hope, courage, and possibility are truly the underlying themes of the whole affair. Inspiring and spiritual best define the overall concept of The Hymn Of A Broken Man.

Any way you look at it, this is a career defining moment for Adam and Jesse. And that’s saying a lot considering their pedigrees.

Chad Olson

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