Review: Stephen Buckle
Photos: Dylan Martin

Pioneers of a single genre for nearly 20 years, Killswitch Engage were set to rock a sold out show at Max Watts in Melbourne CBD while they were in town supporting Aussie titans Parkway Drive. I don’t think you can find a kinder group of humans in the metal community who treat everyone equal, who give their all through their music, and who share their time with their fans, than Killswitch Engage. With a stage presence like no other and smiles always lighting up the room, they all push to provide a quality show from start to finish.

Tonight’s support came from of Victoria’s own Ocean Sleeper who are on the back of their debut EP release last year ‘Six Feet Down.’ The lights dimmed into darkness and the boys from Gippsland came out to conquer the sold out crowd in front of them. With avid support for the local scene evident in the crowd below, Ocean Sleeper hit us with Breaking Free to warm the crowd up, before following that with Worthless, No Purpose much to the delight of the crowd. Even though they’ve only been around since 2016 Ocean Sleeper seemed the gathered a rather decent following very quickly with performances notched down at Unify 2017, and are set to do battle at Unify 2019 next year. A perfect band to warm up a sold out crowd for metal titans Killswitch Engage.

Whether it’s losing (and regaining) their lead singer, winning a game show, covering rock legend Ronnie James Dio, or simply fighting life’s plans itself Killswitch Engage have been through it all. With Jesse Leach (original and now current vocalist) back at the realm, the band has reignited its career which spans nearly 20 years. With a very full room full of eager fans conversing about what hits they wanted to hear, it quickly erupted with cheers as they dropped the lights during the introduction to ‘Let There Be Rock’ by AC/DC.

Not wasting any time, Killswitch Engage burst into The End of Heartache, commanding the movement of the room without having to say anything at all. Once that introductory riff hit there was no stopping the crowd surfers nor circle pit itself. Following quickly with Strength Of The Mind and Beyond The Flames, tonight was all about Killswitch Engage and their loyal fan base who’ve kept them going throughout their career.

Once they finished Beyond The Flames Jesse and Adam D greeted us with their best (or worst) interpretation of the Australian accent, Jesse’s love for Australia culminating in a ‘bin chicken’ (Ibis) tattoo and how they were all hungover from the night before’s festivities at the famous Cherry Bar. Adam D joked that he thinks he may have shown some guy his privates, stating that it wasn’t the first time and most likely won’t be the last time either.

All jokes aside, Jesse brought us into crowd favourite My Curse and the crowd erupted once again. Moving into This Fire Burns (one of my personal favourites) caused havoc and chaos in the pit, with an emerging circle pit nearly the size of the floor itself. All the control was with Killswitch Engage and the crowd eagerly awaited more and more from them.

Throughout the night, Killswitch Engage proved they’ve never lost a step and know how to put on a good show every night. With Adam D performing solos one handed while sculling beers and doing the running man, the energy was wild! The crowd was loud as anything during My Last Serenade which went straight into Rose of Sharyn after, where happy punters faces were seen all around the room.

Closing out with In Due Time and their famous cover of Dio’s Holy Diver, Killswitch Engage seemingly ended on a high note. With the crowd yelling out for an encore they couldn’t say no to it and came back out to a roar of cheers! Finishing their set with Absolution, the crowd kicked in with one more mental circle pit to praise the bands performance.

For a band that helped start a genre and continue through a lead vocalist change not once but twice, they’ve proved that they are the pioneers of 00’s metal and haven’t lost a step at all. If anything they’ve evolved into better performers who know what they want, what the fans want and what works for their live performance. Simply one of the best bands still out there today.

Setlist:
The End Of Heartache
Strength Of The Mind
Beyond The Flames
My Curse
This Fire Burns
Alone I Stand
Darkness Falls
Hate By Design
You Don’t Bleed For Me
Always Vide
My Last Serenade
Rose Of Sharyn
New Awakening
In Due Time
Holy Diver (Ronnie James Dio Cover)

Encore:
Absolution