As of tomorrow, May 21st, 2022, Alive or Just Breathing will celebrate its 20th anniversary. This landmark record not only displays the incredible talent of Killswitch Engage, but it is also an album responsible for introducing a new wave of heavy music into the metal world. With the nu metal genre dominating that of the ’90s, the early 2000s gave way to metalcore – with Killswitch Engage being one of the leaders of that genre.
Throughout Alive or Just Breathing, Killswitch Engage take the aggression and beat for beat pounce of hardcore music, and infuse it with heavy metal melodies and thrashing.
Alongside this instrumental fusion, Jesse leach also blends that of harsh growls and screaming, alongside soothing singing.
This combination of light presentation meets heavy performance is not only what helped the band get recognized back in their earlier days, but it is also a stylization that would inspire a tremendous amount of bands for years to come.
Via an exclusive video with The Pit, Killswitch Engage singer Jesse Leach provides a track-by-track breakdown of Alive or Just Breathing. He speaks to the great themes that the album explores, while also talking about the specific subject matter he explores in each song.
Alongside this breakdown, he also provides a really cool shout out to past Killswitch Engage singer Howards Jones – who actually did the touring and promoting for Alive or Just Breathing, after Leach had exited the band back in the day.
You can find the video of Jesse Leach talking about the band’s second studio album below. What does Alive or Just Breathing mean to you? Do you find it surreal that it has been 20 years since the album came out?
Words by: Michael Pementel