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Alive or Just Breathing

4.8 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (Jan. 7 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal Music Group
  • ASIN: B000065894
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 134 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #35,951 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Numbered Days
2. Self Revolution
3. Fixation On The Darkness
4. My Last Serenade
5. Life To Lifeless
6. Just Barely Breathing
7. To The Sons Of Man
8. Temple From The Within
9. The Element Of One
10. Vide Infra
11. Without A Name
12. Rise Inside

Product Description


Well-established metal label Roadrunner might be best known in recent years for unleashing fiercely modern metal behemoths like Slipknot upon the modern rock consciousness, but Alive or Just Breathing, the second album from Killswitch Engage, finds the company reaffirming its vows to the spirit of extreme thrash that it was founded in. In truth, Alive or Just Breathing is not a pure thrash metal statement--this Massachusetts five-piece have the modern rock nous to add hefty slabs of accessible stadium rock to their frantic assault.

Mind you, that's certainly a good thing: "Numbered Days" might rock awful hard, but it still has time to squeeze in a memorable chorus (albeit, one about the disintegration of civilisation as we know it). Frontman Jesse David Leach's excellent vocals are strongly influenced by religion, philosophy and mythology: the likes of "Temple from the Within" and "Self Revolution" find him wrestling with an ideology that falls somewhere between the serene meditative state of Buddhism and a brooding sense of Nietzschean self-belief. The closing "Rise Inside" even holds a positive message behind its brutal hardcore exterior, Leach shrieking "I believe love will overcome" as the album grinds to a rocky end. This is a quality example of metal done the old way. --Louis Pattison

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This is one of the best metal efforts in recent years and certainly Killswitch Engage's best. I first heard of KsE on a RoadRunner compilation that were given out at other group's shows; the song was Life to Lifeless, an undeniably catchy song with a truly pumping pre-chorus and soaring chorus.
This album is arranged perfectly, flowing from peak to peak. It opens with a throaty yell of "The time approaches!" on "Numbered Days" and from that moment, you know you're in for one terrifically turbulent experience. It's become basically standard nowadays to yell and thrash the verses away and then break into clean sustained melodic choruses, but few bands can do this formula correctly because it requires 1) verses that really kick and get your blood pumping and 2) genuinely inspiring and addictive choruses that allow for cathartic release. Well, KsE *can definitely* do it. I'd mention highlights, but practically every song is a highlight, including the cool-down clean tone "Without a Name" which perfectly precedes the forceful exit "Rise Inside". "My Last Serenade" and "The Element of One" were the songs I instantly became addicted to. My absolute favorite is "Just Barely Breathing", which I consider one of the most powerful songs, lyrically and sonically, I've heard in a few years.
This album is certainly a must-have. You will not regret buying it and will find yourself randomly singing pieces of it for a long time to come.
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Format: Audio CD
this album is amazing, insane, and straight up intense. from the first track to the last, you get beat, punched, pounded, kicked, smacked, and blistered with intense metal quality. metalcore, or what not, this album is crazy. the sounds are just intense, lots of high energy riffs, lots of high energy tunes. the melodies come beautiful and at the right time. every track gives you something different with something familiar. you cannot complain. ok, so why the 4 instead of the 5? well, i found some of the slow parts to be a bit TOO cheesy. to me, it was an unfamiliar blend of extremely heavy blanded with some harsh mellow melodies. it just did not come together for me. i think they could have done without the slowing down and melodies. like the song "just barely breathing", when he stops the shouting and the guitars and drums slow down, it just seems to...it just doesn't fit right for me. it was too sudden a stop and too abrupt. but nevertheless, this album is intense, and insanely difficult for mediocre metalheads. you have to love metal, and breath metal to like this album, and i approve of this album. with that said, i would recommend you to just buy it, the parts that bothered me did not murk me enough to NOT buy this album, or NOT listen to it. after five or six rotations, you grow over it, and grow to love it.
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Format: Audio CD
I got this cd about 2 months ago and it hasnt left my cd player since. The hard as hell verses and epic chorus for each song (in exception for about 3) the album is a heavy metal masterpiece. This is a great place to start for any person who is starting to get into metal. These are my reviews to get a little more in depth in the songs:
Numbered Days-5/5. My personal favorite song on this cd. The chorus is one of the best on the cd (aside from My Last Serenade)
The guitar work is good too.
Self Revolution-5/5. Another good song with a good chorus. Its very catchy and one of my top 5 favorite songs.
Fixation On The Darkness-4/5. The first 25 secconds of this song is awsome one fo my favorite parts. The verses are good but not great right along with the chorus.
My Last Serenade-5/5. Probably the most well known song on the cd. The chorus is the best on the cd without a doubt and has catchy verses. Great song.
Life To The Lifeless-4/5. Another good song. Not necisarilly bland but very much so like the first 4 songs witch doesnt make it stand out more than the others but still very good.
Just Barely Breathing-3/5. An ok song. The first 1:40 is just instrumental but good instrumental. The rest fo teh song is ok.
To The Sons Of Man-2/5. Not one of my personal favorites. A fairly short song at just under 2 minutes, it goes back to its roots from its first reccord and adds the singing chorus theme into it.
Temple From Within-4/5. A remake from their first album and done quite well because of the fact the first album seems a little imature. Very well done though.
The Element Of One-5/5. Another great song sounding like one of the first 5. Probably my favorite verse riff throughout the whole album. A very good song all around.
Vide Infra-4/5.
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Format: Audio CD
With a 5-star average customer rating, how can this disc be bad? I mean, you see a lot of 4-star and 4-and-a-half-star ratings, but that's usually only because the fans review the albums. But since this is KsE's mainstream, major-label debut, all these reviews are from an introductory standpoint. I've always loved heavy music and was even a fan of nu-metal. If there were loud, distorted guitars and a screamed vocal or two, I couldn't be happier. But after discovering KsE, my gateway drug to other metal and hardcore/metalcore, nu-metal got annoying to me.
I am a huge music fan. Music is my life and this disc is hands down, the best CD of last year (2003). I hated it on the first listen, tolerated it on the second, and fell in love with it from the third listen on. I've had it since September of 2003 and it hadn't left my car CD player until January of '04 when I bought other metal CDs like Lamb of God's "As the Palaces Burn" and Shadows Fall's "The Art of Balance". And I mean that literally, and I'm not one of those guys who listens to the radio and then plays the CD every couple of drives...It was blaring every single place I went to for 5 months. And I still love it.
If you haven't heard a single song from this disc, God save you. It's impossible to dislike but if you are so deep into nu-metal like I was, give it a few listens before you let this masterpiece collect dust.
Killswitch Engage "The End of Heartache"
Available May 11, 2004.
!!!BUY IT!!!
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