As metal fans know, Killswitch Engage is one of the best bands around. And after the departure of singer Howard Jones, the band has come back full circle, reuniting with original frontman Jesse Leach. And now with Leach back in, the band is back to its origins.
Killswitch Engage formed in 1999 and served up some great music including “Life to Lifeless” and “My Last Serenade”. Leach, Adam Dutkiewicz (drums), Joel Stroetzel (guitar), and Mike D’Antonio (bass) were gaining fans worldwide with their sound. However, in 2001, Leach left the band stating he was battling depression and had a voice problem that didn’t allow him to continue singing. This left the band having to find a new singer in a hurry. And they did, finding a man that would be their voice for the next 10 years.
Howard Jones was the singer that filled in for Leach and while he had a different vocal style, it was a great fit. While Leach was more of a screamer, Jones had a darker, more melodic voice that grabbed your attention immediately upon first hearing it. Jones joined the band just as they were gaining more and more notoriety. During this time, Dutkiewicz moved to guitar and Justin Foley joined the band on drums. They released 3 albums with Jones and had a string of hits, including ‘The End of Heartache”, “Rose of Sharyn”, “My Curse”, “Starting Over”, and their cover of the Dio classic “Holy Diver”. One of the band’s B-Sides, “This Fire Burns”, was even used as WWE Superstar CM Punk’s entrance theme for a while. The band was going strong. Then…
In January 2012, the band announced that Jones had left the band. Jones later said that he left the band for medical issues and a lack of enthusiasm for writing and touring. Whatever the case, both Jones and the band parted on good terms. And in my opinion, if he was burnt out, Jones did the right thing and left to let the band continue to make music.
And that they would do. After holding auditions, Leach was announced as the new singer and they immediately began to write, record, and tour. And in April 2013, the band released Disarm the Descent, their first release with Leach since 2001’s Alive or Just Breathing. The album has been well received and given praise by most. Killswitch Engage is back and the end is nowhere in their sights.
Currently they are touring the US in support of the album and I will get the chance to see them live in New York City at the Best Buy Theater on June 11th. This will be the second time I see them. I caught them in New Orleans in 2007 (I think) with Jones and they were amazing live. The CD’s don’t do them justice. And now I have the chance to see them with Jesse Leach. It will be a great experience.
But, that’s besides the point. If you haven’t checked out their newest release, don’t wait any longer. It’s more than worth the money. It’s still early, but it already has my vote for best metal release of the year. And check out www.killswitchengage.com for tour dates and more.