After being diagnosed with diabetes, having a mental breakdown and suffering from panic attacks so severe that it caused him to quit Killswitch Engage and nearly ended his career, vocalist Howard Jones made a triumphant return to the music industry with his new band The Devil You Know in late 2012.
Their 2014 debut album The Beauty of Destruction was well received by both fans and critics alike. Riding that wave of success and only a year later, the band has just released their second album They Bleed Red for Nuclear Blast. It was produced by Josh Wilbur and if lead singles “Stay of Execution” and “The Way We Die” are any kind of indicator, They Bleed Red is set to follow suit.
The incendiary guitar riffs of opener “Consume the Damned” and “Master of None,” are as incisive as they are brutal, Jones’ vocals as crisp and biting as ever. While “The Way We Die” and “Broken by the Cold” are driven by formidable riffs, clever rhythmic passages and razor sharp hooks.
The buzz saw grooves of “Your Last Breath” are augmented by lethal doses of Jones bellowing like the voice of God himself and the blistering fretwork of Francesco Artusatto and pneumatic blast beats of John Sankey in tracks like “Stay of Execution” and “How the End Shall Be” hit with enough seismic force to turn your eardrums to dust.
Speaking of force, “Shattered Silence” is seething with enough relentless rhythmic aggression and primordial fury that you can feel it in your chest. While the sonic and structural dynamics, along with the masterfully balanced songwriting in “Break the Ties” and “Searching For the Sun” flash back to Jones’ glory days with Killswitch Engage.
If you get the deluxe edition, you get 3 bonus tracks. One of which should have been on the regular release and one that shouldn’t have been included at all. Then there is their cover of “Eye of the Tiger,” which while entertaining, is not nearly as compelling or inspired as the Killswitch cover of “Holy Diver.”
Here’s the bottom line. Given the lineage of the band members, fans have a preconceived notion in their head of what the band should be and sound like. A type of thinking that can be very detrimental and damaging to a band. With They Bleed Red, the band hopes to open minds and to broaden their musical horizons.
Rating: 8 out of 10