Killswitch Engage has had a bit of momentum recently. Successful shows, upcoming festival appearances, and the March 11th release date of Incarnate are all paving the way for what could be a big year for the metalcore veterans. Focusing in on the aforementioned upcoming album, Killswitch had already released a video for “Hate By Design”, which certainly sounds like classic Killswitch — melodic with an ample amount of aggression. This time, with “Cut Me Loose”, we go in a different direction; one that explores internal struggle and depression.To get just a bit personal for a moment, Killswitch Engage was a band I very much respected in my metalcore days of high school (yes, those days did exist). I felt their sound was consistent, full of personality, and just enjoyable to listen to overall. Then, a year or two later, just like that, I completely stopped giving a shit about metalcore. And with that, completely stopped giving a shit about Killswitch. They re-entered my periphery last year when I saw them open for Rise Against. They impressed live and seeing Jesse Leach back on vocals was somewhat refreshing. So, at this point, I’m very aware of the run they’ve been on and have been willingly tracking their activity… out of curiosity, if nothing else.
Starting with the music, “Cut Me Loose” is a short (three minutes), even-paced track that is primarily on the lighter side. Jesse focuses on cleaner vocals — and he sounds quite good, I must say — while using harsher vocals only as a supplement. The riffs are straightforward, the leads crisp and melodic, and the percussion is balanced. But it all comes together decently enough. Especially with the emotions it attempts to pull out of its audience; those of sorrow and isolation. And in introducing that aspect of the music, we move into the video itself.
The scene focuses on a single main character who is quite clearly struggling; turning to alcohol and pills. He sits in isolation by a window in a cabin as the cold surrounds him. He becomes the image of an emotional state anyone that has ever felt trapped can relate to. From there, we are introduced to his tying and hanging of a noose on a tree in a rather grim forest setting. As the video plays out through the midway point, we consistently cut from the substance abuse to the noose. As a result, we think we generally know where this story is headed. But instead, something ignites within our character, inspiring him to cut down the empty noose he had previously hung.
While the message of internal triumph is obvious, what stands out most with me in this video is the depiction of the surrounding environment. In the early stages of the video, the woods are grey, dark, and somber. But as the mental state of this particular young man improves, there is sunlight and color. And it all closes to a stunning sunset over a nearby river. It’s a rather nice way to associate the person with the environment, as if speaking to the idea that sometimes what we are dealing with internally can impact our perspective or focus on the is external. It’s a nice interplay between character and setting. And now you can take a look for yourself below.
“Ein Bier… bitte.”