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Killswitch Engage - January 10th, 2007 - Dublin, Ireland @ Ambassador Theatre

By: Ken McGrath

The last time Killswitch Engage hit Irish shores back in 2004, it had Chimaira, Shadows Fall and God Forbid in tow. That night Chimaira emerged the better band, pulling the rug from underneath the headliners with a sheer stomping set. This time the danger was that The Haunted might just do the same thing, especially among the older guard. But Adam Dutkiewicz and his boys pulled off a sterling performance, one that left you hoping it wouldn't be another two years till they get their passports stamped in Dublin Airport again.

Buzz band Bring Me The Horizon warmed up the early comers. With youthful exuberance and undeniable energy on its side, the act whipped the younger portion of the crowd into a mild frenzy. Once the bigger boys walked into the pit, things took on a more organized approach, with less failing arms and more Irish-style moshing (i.e. shoving, lots of shoving). That we spent a large portion of the set watching the pit activity says a lot about Bring Me The Horizon in that it has quite a ways to go, especially frontman Oli Sykes, but these boys have age on their side. A half-hour of its sub-Converge chaotic sound resulted in the mind beginning to wander. However, the constant, lurching breakdowns and the furious "Tell Slater Not To Wash His Dick" drew us back in and showed BMTH's potential.

When The Haunted was announced as main support for this show there was of course disappointment at not being able to see it in a smaller venue. However, the chance that it might have left Killswitch Engage in ruins seemed to be enough to attract its followers. With original main man Peter Dolving back up front, the best was expected. The Haunted did deliver, although it was far from perfection. Skimming over a lot of its older material, "99" and "Abysmal" from the "rEVOLVEr" album were the show-stoppers. Newer material from "The Dead Eye" with its more melodic backing was played in abundanceówell, why not, the band's got a new album to promoteóbut it lost a portion of the crowd, especially from those expecting a more brutal thrashing.

And thatís when Killswitch Engage took over. It was impossible not to enjoy, if only for the reason that these cats look like they are having so much damn fun up there. Love him or loath him, constant joker Dutkiewicz emerged wearing a pink cowboy hat and cut-off, sleeveless Mastodon T-shirt. All appearances aside, heís simply metal as fuck. He laid down swathes of chunky guitar riffs for Howard Jones to belt his vocal lines over, making for a captivating sight. Itís easy to forget how many great songs this band is armed withó"Rose Of Sharyn," "Breathe Life," "When Darkness Falls" and "Life To Lifeless" sparked off huge responses. Newer tunes "Daylight Dies" and running riff-filled single "My Curse" fit the Killswitch formula beautifully.

This band was tighter than a hoboís fist clutching his beer change. It's utterly professional, with every note ringing across perfectly, every downward crunch hitting hard and each drum blast . . . well, blasting. And yet none of it looks planned, as Killswitch pumped the air at every given chance with raised fists, running about the stage nonstop. Closing with a stunning cover of Dioís "Holy Diver" simply cemented the fact that it has pulled itself into the upper level of metalís hierarchy. If youíre gunning for the top these days, this is now one of the acts you have to surpass. Best of luck to you. [END]

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