Killswitch Engage's The End of Heartache is without a doubt one of the greatest metalcore albums ever, but which song is the best? See how we ranked every track on the record.

It's hard to believe, but today (May 10, 2024) marks 20 years since Killswitch Engage released their genre-defining album The End of Heartache. 

After the departure of singer Jesse Leach, Killswitch introduced the world at large to Howard Jones, who would become the band's frontman for the next 10 years. Jones brought an incredible energy to the group, thanks to his unbelievable range as a singer and ability to take their clean singing to an epic new level.

READ MORE: The Best Album by 35 Legendary Metal Bands

Everything on The End of Heartache goes all the way in pushing the band's abilities. Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz's abilities as both a band member and producer are fully realized here, as he delivers some of the group's most memorable riffs. Drummer Justin Foley is equally monstrous, beating his kit with a genuine anger and energy that's truly palpable.

The thing about The End of Heartache is there really aren't any bad songs on the record. Even the ones that don't rise to the heights of the album's best would be a standout clincher in another band's discography. The record is a true display of the band's innate understanding of what makes metalcore truly work, both in the context of songwriting and pure sound.

Without further ado, here's every song on the original release of The End of Heartache, ranked.

  • 12

    "And Embers Rise"

    "And Embers Rise" serves as more of an outro to previous track "World Ablaze" than it does as its own song. Still, it extends the final melody into something even more beautiful and manages to live beyond just a simple interlude.

  • 11

    "Inhale"

    It's a nice interlude that shows off the sensitive side of guitarist/songwriter Adam D. In just over a minute, they're able to pack in a lot of emotion into a very brief track.

  • 10

    "Hope Is..."

    The final track on the album, "Hope Is..." packs in as many ideas as it can before the record ends.

    Opening with a nasty breakdown that reoccurs throughout the rest of the song, there's a nice bit of gang vocals going on as well. Killswitch's attempt to merge the heavy and melancholic at the end is admirable, but doesn't hit the highs of earlier songs. It's still a song you would get murdered in the pit during.

  • 9

    "Breathe Life"

    Holy hell is that first riff mean. We kind of wish it continued through the whole track, though the band decides to switch things up midway through. At least there's a pretty sweet solo at the end.

  • 8

    "Declaration"

    Definitely one of the heavier songs on the record, this song might have the most ratio of Jones' screams to singing. The opening breakdown sets the tone for the rest of the song, expanding on itself as the song develops before Jones gives an impactful croon of "join me."

  • 7

    "Wasted Sacrifice"

    "Wasted Sacrifice" lacks a little bit when it comes to the heavier elements of the band, but it's all for a very noble sacrifice (sorry). That being one of the best choruses on the record, Jones taking the spotlight completely and just showing how goddamn talented he is. Still, solid riffs.

  • 6

    "Take This Oath"

    Despite Jesse Leach leaving the band, his presence was very much welcomed on "Take This Oath," which feels like passing of the torch from one singer to the next. Jones and Leach's strengths are on full display, Leach offering up some of his gnarliest harsh vocals while Jones comes in near the back end of the song with a soaring bridge. Both are obviously world-class talents at what they do, this song being proof as such.

  • 5

    "World Ablaze"

    "World Ablaze" is a real vocal showcase for everything that Howard Jones can do. He swaps between clean vocals and massive screams, all while they jam out one of the best riffs on the album. A seriously underrated song in an album packed with bangers.

  • 4

    "When Darkness Falls"

    "When Darkness Falls" is easily the only good thing to come out of Freddy Vs. Jason. It's a song that truly captures that moment in time. The gargantuan riff, Jones' sweeping vocals all perfectly capture the moment of hope to make metalcore a huge genre. The mosh part at the end of the song is just a chef's kiss to boot.

  • 3

    "A Bid Farewell"

    Opener "A Bid Farewell" sets the tone perfectly for what the rest of the record will hit you with. Jones makes himself known immediately, yelling the song's title before all hell breaks loose. A very Gothenberg-riff leads into Jones showing off exactly how epic his voice is on the song's chorus, before another barrage of riffs and breakdowns. What a smart way to start off a record.

  • 2

    "The End of Heartache"

    It's really not hard to see why "The End of Heartache" became one of the band's biggest songs ever. Every singular element in the track is metalcore at its peak: from Jones' impassioned singing to the clean heaviness of Dutkiewicz's guitar playing. The song feels like a genuine statement of where heavy metal would be going.

  • 1

    "Rose of Sharyn"

    Though "The End of Heartache" might be the album's breakthrough single, "Rose of Sharyn" is the lifeblood of what makes Killswitch the top of their game.

    Jones' vocals are vulnerable, every scream in the song feels extremely real. His words “I mourn for those who never knew you” might be the most fatally romantic thing ever expressed in a metalcore song, in a genre where numerous have tried and failed to show such major emotions.

    It’s the culmination of Jones’ total dedication to putting it all out there with the band’s ability to truly express “heaviness” in every meaning of the word.

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