Times of Grace Interview – More Darkness & More Reality: New Album Saves The Life Of Jesse Leach
The Hymn Of A Broken Man Review:
Bands like Times of Grace don’t come along very often. That is, bands that are at once creative without being abstract, accessible without being mainstream, unique without being unorthodox, bleak without being hopeless, vulnerable without being weak. These are the types of bands that you hear and ask yourself (or bitchingly ask your friends rhetorically), “Why the fuck aren’t these guys huge?”
Granted, Times of Grace and their debut album, The Hymn of a Broken Man, have been met with mostly positive reviews (with a few ill-conceived negative spots), but that’s hardly translated into them being media darlings.
Who are the progenitors of this visceral opus that I’ve had on heavy rotation for over a month? In the studio and what you hear on the album is the product of two members: Jesse Leach (original Killswitch Engage vocalist) and Adam Dutkiewicz (current Killswitch guitarist). Since Adam plays all the instruments on the recording, Times of Grace don’t have much of a choice but to have additional musicians play with them live.
Hymn of a Broken Man is truly a journey through humanity, both lyrically and musically. The teaming of Jesse and Adam is a marriage made in the church of metal. Without question, this album proves that the metal future paved by Killswitch Engage’s Alive or Just Breathing wasn’t happenstance; these guys write kick-ass music together.
One thing that makes this album so addictive and enjoyable to listen to from start to finish is its balance and its ability to push and pull you in so many directions. In a way it might mirror the human mind; the lyrics and heavy riffs can demand your attention, causing you to think and consider, while the interludes, bridges, and slower dream-like segments can cause you to float away, sending your mind and/or psyche on a ride through the clouds. OK, that sounded really gay, but I hope you get what I’m trying to say here.
Another quality of the album is its purpose and intensity. There’s meaning in the lyrics and music, and for anyone who’s going through tough times will find catharsis and hope here.
There’s broad appeal to the music that appears on Hymn of a Broken Man; it’s not all “pure fucking metal,” but with well-placed death growls it’s undeniably metal. Nor is it 100% radio friendly, yet there’s plenty that could be played on mainstream airwaves. There’s something for everyone here (sometimes in the same song) and, surprisingly, it doesn’t sound disjointed.
It would be a futile challenge to pinpoint one track as the best (the album works best as single work), but to highlight some key tracks, here’s a list:
“Strength in Numbers,” “Fight For Life,” “Where the Spirit Leads Me,” “Until the End of Days,” “Hymn of a Broken Man,” “The Forgotten One,” “Hope Remains”… OK, that’s like half the album, and the omission of any tracks isn’t a suggestion to skip them. It’s worth your while to listen to the whole album.
Just like when you finish riding the world’s biggest fucking roller-coaster and your eyelids are peeled back and your hair looks like it’s been through a car wash, when you finish listening to Hymn of a Broken Man you’ll be left with two words: “Whoa, dude!” Which is to say, this is a damn good and important album. Get it now.