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Best Albums of the 2010s: Number 8 - "Hymn of a Broken Man" by Times of Grace

Unnoticed by many, but this side project, stymied by the reunion it led to, is one the best metal albums this century, never mind the last decade. Upon listening to this you will be struck by two things; firstly the sheer number of arms aloft, chest thumping riffage that pounds your ears, and secondly envy for the talents of Adam Dutkiewicz. Not only did the Killswitch Engage guitarist write all the music, play all the instruments he also produced, engineered and mixed it for good measure! Former, (at the time), Killswitch vocalist Jesse Leach contributes lead vocals and lyrics loaded with his usual passion and intensity.

Whilst the pace is punishing, although melodic, for the first half, it takes a gentle instrumental pause halfway through with "In the Arms of Mercy" and revisits the more mellow tone on "The Forgotten One" and "The End of Eternity".
Be in no doubt though, from the moment the martial drums start to build during the intro to stunning opener, "Strength in Numbers", the tone is set. Faces will be melted, air will be punched, and heads will bang. 

Really this is an album of highlights; drop the needle, (real or virtual), anywhere and enjoy the power and intensity that you will inevitably land on. If pushed though I'd pick out the aforementioned "Strength in Numbers", "Where The Spirit Leads Me" and "The Forgotten One" and closer "Fall from Grace" as the pick of the bunch.
The only downside of this masterpiece is that it resulted in Jesse Leach rejoining Killswitch Engage, and whilst that was also a good thing, it stopped any more progress on this side project. There have been hints that more might come over the years since this was released in 2011, but nothing concrete. I can't really complain though as "Atonement" by Killswitch Engage was one of my albums of 2019. (Full review here).

The themes of faith, empowerment and mental health that feature frequently here have spilled over into the main band work that has followed. It remains the case though, that for my money, if this had been a Killswitch Engage album it would stand proud as their finest work, eclipsing even "Alive or Just Breathing".

"Lost in a sea of sadness, blind in this place of darkness, if I fall will you raise me up or will I be the forgotten one?........"

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