The late ‘90s and early ‘00s were a period of great excitement and new beginnings for American heavy metal, which was emerging from a decade of virtual persecution by the forces of alternative rock.

First came the rather unsurprisingly named nu-metal form, led by the likes of Korn, Limp Bizkit and Slipknot, which incorporated rhythmic ideas from hip hop; then came the blend of hardcore and metal that would likewise earn the obvious label of metalcore, and this is where Killswitch Engage comes into the picture.

Founded in Westfield, Massachusetts, KsE, for short, were the product of a merger themselves, when members of the bands Overcast (bassist Mike D’Antonio), Aftershock (guitarist/drummer Adam Dutkiewicz and guitarist Joel Stroetzel), and Nothing Stays Gold (singer Jesse Leach) decided to join forces in 1999, behind a name poached right out of ‘The X-Files.’

Seems that the truth was out there, after all.

And then Killswitch was off to the races – quickly distinguishing themselves among the leaders (see also Shadows Fall, All That Remains and As I Lay Dying) of a newly coalescing metalcore scene that sold millions of records and bridged the Atlantic divide that had long separated American hardcore, with its blunt simplicity and self-aware lyrics, from European death metal, with its complex musicianship and harmonic possibilities.

Nearly two decades and seven studio albums later, KsE has effectively navigated several difficult personnel changes (none more dramatic than Leach’s replacement by Howard Jones, then vice-versa) while hardly missing a beat, thanks to the consistent leadership of Dutkiewicz (who emerged as a successful producer, to boot), and a focused musical vision that fans continue to rally around.

So scroll through the gallery below to see if you can rally around our rankings of Killswitch Engage’s albums from weakest to strongest.

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