At 8:30pm, Killswitch Engage walked out into the Fillmore in Detroit to an Adam D’d version of Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right” (and anybody who’s seen KSE before knows what I mean by that), and immediately jumped into “Hate by Design” from their newest record, Incarnate.
This was the fourth time I’d seen Killswitch Engage, and by god, they get better every show. Vocalist Jesse Leach powered through each song with little to no visible effort- clearly comfortable and in his element.
As the set progressed, the band had a little bit of something for everybody. Whether it was their singles such as “My Curse” and “End of Heartache”, or songs that more devoted fans would recognize such as “Alone I Stand” and “Numbered Days”, there was a part in the set for everybody in the room. Lead guitarist Adam D. made sure to hit us with his banter and constant demands for more circle pits, and the crowd gleefully obliged.
Towards the end of their set, the band made a nod to metal legend Ronnie James Dio with their cover of “Holy Diver”, with an extended outro featuring some mad shredding from both guitarists Adam D. and Joel Stroetzel.
To top it all off, the band closed with their song “In Due Time” from 2013’s Disarm the Descent, with the crowd screaming and singing louder than the band themselves.
Killswitch Engage have an entirely unique show. While many bands have planned gimmicks and scheduled movements, it’s clear that KSE just do what they feel is right- visibly noted when bass guitarist Mike D’Antonio fell off the stage after fistbumping a fan, and continued to play from inside the pit, even letting fans pluck a string or two. Through a discussion with him after the show, I learned that he had injured his foot in the fall, but watching him for the rest of the set, you’d never know it. A trooper through and through.
Jesse Leach made every song his own, including songs that were recorded during his absence from the band. His vocals were on point throughout the entire show, and his screams sounded better than ever.
I should let you know that drummer Justin Foley is a cyborg. There’s no way any human being could be as precise and on fire as he was through the entire show. Throughout the entire set, I caught myself watching what he was doing and feeling my mind explode a little because of how effortlessly he was nailing it.
If you haven’t seen this band before, you need to. Mark my words, Killswitch will go down in history as a legendary band in the same ways as Metallica or Judas Priest. Buy a ticket, go to a show, and get ready to rock the fuck out.