- Adam Dutkiewicz – vocals, guitar, bass, drums
- Jesse Leach – vocals
- Strength in Numbers
- Fight For Life
- Where the Spirit Leads Me
- Until the End of Days
- Live in Love
- In the Arms of Mercy
- Hymn of a Broken Man
- The Forgotten One
- Hope Remains
- The End of Eternity
- Worlds Apart
- Fall From Grace
From two of the people behind Killswitch Engage, Times of Grace feels and acts like a slightly softer, slightly less interesting version of the band its members come from. Without the shackles of Killswitch to write for, however, Jesse Leach and Adam Dutkeiwicz have a little more freedom to do what they want here.
For the most part, The Hymns of a Broken Man plays it quite safe. This is Killswitch Engage without some of its aggression. It’s not until ‘In the Arms of Mercy’ where we are given anything different. This two-minute track acts as something of a break from the metal present in the rest of the record. ‘The Forgotten One’ is where we see Jesse Leach and Adam D. try something completely different. It’s a powerful, heart-felt country and western style track that we simply wouldn’t see in a Killswitch record. I would’ve loved to have heard more of this kind of track in The Hymns of a Broken Man.
‘The Forgotten One’ gives Jesse’s fantastic voice a workout and lets Adam D. try something new. Both appeared to relish the challenge. ‘The End of Eternity’ is another track that just wouldn’t appear on a Killswitch album. It’s more progressive than what you might expect from the metalcore masters. A slow, building track that relies on atmosphere rather than blast-beats and riffs to tell its story. I don’t think there’s quite enough experimentation in the record, however. While there are moments throughout that may stand out as a little different from what you’d hear in a Killswitch record, The Hymn of a Broken Man largely plays out as a slightly worse version of that famous band.
There are some great tracks to be fair. Album opener, ‘Strength in Numbers’, with its military-esque drumming in parts is a blast. This isn’t to mention a cracking guitar solo, riff or chorus. It’s a really (ahem) strong track. ‘Fight For Life’, too, is excellent. For this track (along with a few others), Adam D. uses a 7 string guitar tuned to Drop A, rather than the standard six string tuned to Drop D. It gives the song a deep power through its chunky, killer riff. Indeed, ‘Until the End of Days’, ‘The End of Eternity’ and ‘Fall From Grace’ all employ the same tuning. It makes for a heavy, often crushing sound.
As I said earlier, however, you won’t find the aggression that is present in Killswitch’s stuff here. There’s more of a feel of hope through pain here then you’ll find even in Killswitch. It’s life-affirming stuff for sure – classic Jesse Leach material, but even more hopeful. Most of the album just isn’t as good as what you’d find in any of Killswitch Engage’s discography. It’s all good stuff here, but not as good as the two’s main project. This is why I would have liked more experimentation on the record. The Hymn of a Broken Man contains a small number of interesting tracks, but it would have been better to hear more of it. If I want to listen to Jesse Leach metal, I’ll have a better time with Killswitch Engage than Times of Grace.
While not as heavy as Killswitch Engage, Times of Grace is a solid record with some interesting moments.