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Times of Grace “The Hymn of a Broken Man”

Times of Grace are a duo comprised of the former singer of Killswitch Engage, Jesse Leach, and current KSE guitarist, Adam Dutkiewicz. Times of Grace borrows from other bands for a touring group. They are described as metalcore, but to me they seem almost more hard rock with a touch of metalcore thrown in when they want to add some sort of attempt at aggression to the guitars. If you like ballads interspersed with call and response verse, big swelling chorus and preachy holier than thou lyrics that offer emo imagery and no actual answers this album is for you. I’m going to go one step further and call this pop music that has occasional screams and distorted guitars and say that it’s a real stretch to call it metal anything.

Let’s examine some of the lyrics shall we? The track “Fall from Grace” is about as whiny and emo as I have ever heard:

“Even through this pain
I will feel again
Even through these tears
I will love again
Even through this pain
I will feel again
Even through these tears
I will love again”

This is Celine Dion set to guitars. If that’s your thing, great – and as a side note I’d like to welcome all the pre-teen girls to Thrashmag and encourage them to look at other reviews and find some actual metal – but for me this is way over the top simplistic and sappy music. Listen to the whole thing through, if you didn’t have diabetes before, surprise, you do now.

Musically the guitars are simple rock song guitars, not technical, not brutal but to be fair these songs call for neither of those elements. The guitars do in fact fit well with the general theme and tone of the songs, and follow the “crazy train” lead ins, chorus swells, and picked ballad formula almost without exception. I’m not sure that I heard any bass. Drumming on the album is decent, again not to my taste really but it very much fits the music and is aggressive enough within those confines to not be actively annoying. It does not overcome the lyrics. Vocally Jesse Leach is a talented singer, I have to give credit where credit is due. I’m not sure what the extent of his throat problems were in the past with KSE but it seems he has overcome them on this album. This collaboration is listed as metalcore, and again I have to take issue with that, Jesse Leach, fine singer though he may be, is not a metal singer.

Overall The Hymn of a Broken Man is a poppy, sort of sappy and preachy record that follows a formulaic pop sensibility. As you may have guessed, I’m not a fan. If you spend a lot of time feeling sad or like to complain and not actually change anything; or maybe have an idea that you have all the answers at the center of the universe in your mom’s basement, or if your under fourteen, this may be just what the doctor ordered. If not, this one is a pass. I know I’ll get some grief for this one, but music is subjective, like what you like and make no apologies for it.

Track Listing:

  1. Strength in Numbers
  2. Fight For Life
  3. Willing
  4. Where the Spirit Leads Me
  5. Until the End of Days
  6. Live in Love
  7. In the Arms of Mercy
  8. Hymn of a Broken Man
  9. The Forgotten One
  10. Hope Remains
  11. The End of Eternity
  12. Worlds Apart
  13. Fall from Grace

 


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