Times Of Grace : The Hymn Of A Broken Man

Times Of GraceThey Say :- * When reality becomes fragmented, confusing and splintered; when life as you know it falls apart; when existence itself becomes a burden, there is hope.

Times Of Grace’s debut album, The Hymn of a Broken Man, explores the depths of human misery with artful desperation, muscular dexterity, heavy aggression and gorgeous melody. The band’s inaugural presentation is as rich and diverse as life itself, holding fast to the promise of strength through adversity. Jesse Leach’s powerful, emotive, soulful, spirit-filled delivery – instantly recognizable – has never been stronger, backed by Adam Duktiewicz’s trailblazing instrumentation.  Guitarist, drummer, producer, songwriter and backing vocalist Duktiewicz’s unexpected reunion with his original Killswitch Engage vocalist surpasses even the weightiest of aspirations for such a monumental collaboration, delivering where most “reunions” or “projects” fail, with confidence.

* We don’t get Roadrunner press releases or promos, this “They Say :-” was obtained from the bands official website here.

We Say :- If someone gave you a bingo card with all the musical elements that encompass the heavy metal genre you’d be calling “house” by the end of the opening track to the new Times of Grace LP — The Hymn of a Broken Man. Thrashing, rhythmic riffs? check! Melodic, anthemic type choruses? affirmative! Monstrous drum fills and screaming metalcore vocals? Also present and correct.

Whilst many metal bands use the duration of their album to paint a particular picture, or tell an emotive story of anger, sadness or hope, Times of Grace attempt to cover most of these bases within practically every song. Such is the scale of dynamics on display that one is certainly challenged as a listener to dispel expectations of arrangements and conventions. This is anything but predictable.

At times this mashing of metal elements is successful. Despite its slightly tricky off-beat riffs, “Willing” has a fantastically catchy chorus that begs to be sung along to. “Fight for Life” makes great use of clean vocals over its bludgeoning beatdown, creating an interesting and powerful tone. Likewise “Where the Spirit Leads Me” mixes upbeat riffs and vocal harmonies with beautiful guitar work in support.

However just as many examples show where the gulf between the lighter and darker moments are too great to maintain cohesion and direction. “Until The End of Days” switches like Jekyll and Hyde between its soft verse and ragging chorus and back again in support of its darker lyrical tone  but the result is a somewhat unsuccessful stitching together of polar opposite genres. Similarly fierce verses and off-beat drums which bookend “Live in Love” don’t sit well together with the powerful tone of the chorus.

This disjointed feeling continues throughout as clean verses are broken by full on vicious screams and blast beats. Others tracks open with ferocious riffs and drum fills, yet all too quickly change pace and move back into more restrained territory before there is any time to get comfortable.

Glimpses of what might have been are evident in the acoustic masterpiece “The Forgotten One” and the more consistent closing pair of “Worlds Apart” and “Fall From Grace” – demonstrating precisely how strong the band are when they confine themselves to a single genre for five minutes.

Ultimately the arrangements have created an identity crisis as to who this album is really for which in itself is a great shame as fans of both hard melodic rock and metalcore will find ample amounts of material to sink their teeth into. The main question is whether or not they have the patience to endure each others side of the plectrum?