- 20 years into their career, the Massachusetts metallers show no sign of slowing down
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- Here’s Who Is Supporting Killswitch Engage On Tour
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But if it seemed as if Leach's sudden exit might take the wind out of Killswitch's sails, what happened was quite the opposite. The record climbed into the Top 40 on the Billboard album chart, and the title track was nominated in the Best Metal Performance category at the Grammy Awards. Though the announcement of Jones' departure came as a shock to Killswitch fans, it was hardly a surprise to his bandmates.
We're still good friends, and we all still talk to him.
But he needed to move on. Enter — or, it should be said, re-enter — Jesse Leach. Since his initial split with the band, the singer had kept busy with his own projects, including the stoner-rock outfit Seemless, the hardcore-tinged The Empire Shall Fall, and the experimental Times of Grace, a collaboration with Dutkiewicz. He had also reestablished a musical relationship with Killswitch Engage, appearing onstage alongside Jones to sing the Alive or Just Breathing track "My Last Serenade" at the Roadrunner United concert in , and performing as a stand-in at several gigs in after Jones took a leave of absence.
But according to Dutkiewicz, when Jones left for good last year and the band began auditioning new singers, they didn't think to call Leach.
20 years into their career, the Massachusetts metallers show no sign of slowing down
Even when he filled in a few years back, he only sang on material that we had originally done when he was in the band. So when Howard left, Jesse's name definitely came up in discussions, but it was like, 'Yeah, but if we ask him to try out, it's probably going to be an issue. Because we kinda have to play some of the songs we've done over the past decade! Dutkiewicz's assumptions about Leach proved correct, at least initially.
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It'd be fun, and you guys can figure out what you wanna do from there. They wanted someone who was going to commit to the band for the long term. So I sort of slept on that for 24 hours, and the next morning called management and said, 'I think it'd be cool if you put my name on the list.
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I want to audition. Though the thought of Leach auditioning for a spot in Killswitch Engage seems odd, it made perfect sense to the singer. I also had to demonstrate that I could sing Howard's songs. I'm not a person who can go through the motions and be a 'cover singer,' for lack of a better term. So I spent a week obsessing over Howard's lyrics. And the moment I started to connect with them, I felt like I had it and I could give it a good shot. According to Dutkiewicz, there were a handful of strong contenders for the frontman slot though he confirms that Labonte was not among them — "We weren't breaking up other bands or anything".
But Leach proved his mettle. With Leach back on board, Killswitch did, in fact, embark on a 10th anniversary tour in support of Alive or Just Breathing. But they also set to work on a new album, using material that had been largely composed, at least instrumentally, prior to Jones' exit.
So I had free reign to go wherever I wanted with the music. They wrote a fast, vicious record, and I latched onto that. Indeed, Disarm the Descent is, for lack of a better word, almost disarming in its ferocity. Its 12 tracks are among the most direct and hard-hitting in the band's catalog. Says Dutkiewicz, "We were feeling like our last record [ 's self-titled effort ] was a little too slow for our tastes. So we got rid of a lot of the fat. Vocally, Leach proved up to the task of matching the music's aggression, pushing his voice to the limit, and beyond. And after that, I went to a vocal doctor and he told me I had hemorrhaged one of my vocal folds.
If you have an irrational hatred of anything in first person, don't watch this. Problem solved. That aside, it's a perfectly solid sci-fi action movie. The core concept is clever, though at it's heart it's just a flashy action movie. Don't expect this to be a thought-provoker like The Arrival, but it's not down there in the complete brain dead zone like a Michael Bay movie either. It's somewhere in between, with a decent plot, above average special effects, and the always enjoyable, though perhaps a little underutilized, Dan Stevens. It's not going to make any top 10 lists or win any major awards, but it succeeds at being entertaining without requiring that you shut down your brain entirely to enjoy it.
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Here’s Who Is Supporting Killswitch Engage On Tour
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Breaking up in the digital age really sucks
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