5 Great Killswitch Engage Songs the Band Should Play Live More Often (Or at All)

  • Axl Rosenberg

This being the Internet, I feel the need to begin this article by making it clear that I am in no way, shape, or form criticizing Killswitch Engage. Quite the contrary! I mean it as high praise. If I went to see Enuff Z’Nuff, I’d want them to open with “Fly High Michelle,” close with “Fly High Michelle,” and play “Fly High Michelle” at least 3-5 times in the middle, because Enuff Z’Nuff are terrible and only have one okayish song. Killswitch Engage, on the other hand, have an abundance of great material that never, or rarely, gets played live. That’s not an uncommon “problem” (for lack of a better word) for great bands, and I totally get it. There are various reasons why some songs don’t get a lot of live love, not least of which is that a band of this stature has hits that they’re more or less obligated to play live from now until the end of time — if you go see KSE live and they don’t play “The End of Heartache,” for example, you’re probably gonna be pretty pissed. It’s an uptown problem if ever there was one.

Still, if for some reason the dudes from Killswitch called me and were all “Hey Axl, can you help us design the setlist for your next tour?”, I’d push hard for these tunes to find their way into the show. Just my two cents as a fan.

Will KSE incorporate any of these songs into the setlist for their upcoming tour with August Burns Red and Light the Torch? Alas, I can’t seem to find the odds on bettingmetrics.com, and no one from Killswitch has called me and asked for my input on the matter (or called me at all, ever, for any reason). But I’ll hold out hope…

My picks are below, in chronological order by release date (and feel free to make your own suggestions in the comments section, natch). The itinerary for the aforementioned tour with August Burns Red and Light the Torch is at the bottom of this post!

“Declaration” (The End of Heartache, 2004) – Never played live

This remains one of KSE’s most inspirational songs… which is really saying something, because they specialize in inspirational songs. The main riff is crazy-good, and the last 45 seconds of the track make me emotional every time I listen to them. I would put nails in someone’s heart to hear this song played live.

“Desperate Times” (As Daylight Dies, 2006) – Not played live since 2008

This is a slower song, and so, if I had to guess, I’d wager that the band feels like it brings the energy of a live show down too much. Which is a bummer, ’cause if you ask me, it’s the standout track on As Daylight Dies.

“Lost” (Killswitch Engage, 2009) – Never played live

I would guess this doesn’t get played live for similar reasons to “Desperate Times”… and I’m sure the fact that Killswitch Engage is almost universally considered to be the band’s weakest album doesn’t help its case. Truth be told, it’s the only song from this album I ever actively re-visit. The 30-second mark, when the song really takes off, gets me goin’ every time I hear it, and the chorus is emotional AF.

“Triumph Through Tragedy” (Incarnate, 2016) – Never played live

I have no clue why this one doesn’t get more love. It might be the heaviest song on Incarnate, and I’d have to imagine it would inspire some fairly brutal pittage.

“Know Your Enemy” (Atonement, 2019) – Never played live

Since Atonement just came out last year, this seems like the song that’s most likely to actually find its way into the band’s set sometime soon. And oh, how I hope that it does. It’s a groove-filled rager that seems custom-made to inspire a massive circle pit. Shit is tight, son.

Killswitch Engage, August Burns Red, and Light the Torch
3/10 — Cleveland, OH — Agora Theatre [Tickets]
3/11 — Grand Rapids, MI — 20 Monroe Live [Tickets]
3/13 — Philadelphia, PA — Franklin Music Hall [Tickets]
3/14 — Silver Spring, MD — Fillmore [Tickets]
3/15 — Raleigh, NC — Ritz [Tickets]
3/17 — Atlanta, GA — Tabernacle [Tickets]
3/18 — Orlando, FL — House of Blues [Tickets]
3/20 — Dallas, TX — Southside Ballroom [Tickets]
3/21 — Houston, TX — House of Blues [Tickets]
3/21 — San Antonio, TX — Vibes [Tickets]
3/23 — Tempe, AZ — The Marquee [Tickets]
3/24 — Los Angeles — The Wiltern [Tickets]
3/25 — Riverside, CA — Municipal Auditorium [Tickets]
3/26 — San Francisco, CA — Warfield [Tickets]
3/28 — Seattle, WA — Showbox Sodo [Tickets]
3/29 — Boise, ID — Revolution [Tickets]
3/31 — Salt Lake City, UT — Complex [Tickets]
4/1 — Denver, CO — Fillmore [Tickets]
4/3 — Minneapolis, MN — Fillmore [Tickets]
4/4 — Chicago, IL — Radius [Tickets]
4/5 — Detroit, MI — Fillmore [Tickets]
4/6 — Toronto, ON — Rebel [Tickets]
4/8 — Montreal, QC — MTelus [Tickets]
4/10 — Portland, ME — State Theatre [Tickets]
4/11 — New York, NY — Terminal 5 [Tickets]
4/12 —  Boston, MA — House of Blues [Tickets]

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