"IT'S THE MOST DIF­FI­CULT RECORD I'VE WRIT­TEN"

Killswitch En­gage have made a rager of a new al­bum, but it took its toll on front­man Jesse Leach

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Killswitch Engage - WORDS: RICH HOB­SON

hey Jesse, how are things in the KSE camp right now? “Good – we’re pretty much wrapped up with the record, just got some fixes to do. We’re mak­ing up for the tour we can­celled [in the States last April/May] from when I had my vo­cal surgery [to re­move polyps on the vo­cal cords], and then the al­bum is the big thing.”

Where have you been record­ing, and who with?

“Be­tween Zing Stu­dios in Mas­sachusetts, where we’ve recorded al­most all our al­bums, but also go­ing to Adam’s [Dutkiewicz, gui­tar] home stu­dio in San Diego, Cal­i­for­nia to do vo­cals. Adam’s our guy, the guy.”

Of course, there’s one per­son you’ve worked with on this al­bum that ev­ery­body is ex­cited about… “Work­ing with Howard [Jones, KSE vo­cal­ist from 2002 – 2012, cur­rently of Light The Torch] was great – per­fect tim­ing, too, as it was just about when I’d dam­aged my vo­cals and needed the surgery. I jumped on the phone and he was on a plane the next day. I showed him the lyrics, he heard the song, and within an hour-and-a-half he’d nailed it, be­cause that dude’s voice is in­cred­i­ble.” Howard also guested with you on­stage a cou­ple of times this year – is that some­thing you could see your­self do­ing mov­ing for­wards? “Not re­ally; I’m not say­ing if he’s around and able to play we wouldn’t, but we’re not plan­ning to do a Van Halen thing where we’ll have two singers. We just want the fans to know that we’re all fam­ily – it’s all love.”

Re­ports sug­gest the songs will cover is­sues of metal health – is that true? “Go­ing for­ward, I’m go­ing to be do­ing a lot of pro­mo­tion to raise men­tal health aware­ness. It’s some­thing that’s very near and dear to my heart, so I’ll be do­ing as much as I can to ad­vo­cate for that and use my soap­box to speak out and keep that con­ver­sa­tion in the fore­front.”

What other sub­jects are you tack­ling with this new record?

“It’s def­i­nitely some re­ac­tion to the state of the world, to the state of our coun­try and what’s be­ing go­ing on here. There’s some an­gry, po­lit­i­cal stuff, but writ­ten in such a way that it’s not go­ing to over­whelm the lis­tener. It’s writ­ten po­et­i­cally; I’m be­ing am­bigu­ous with it, be­cause I’d rather it read like a story than a di­rect state­ment. There’s a lot of heavy themes lyri­cally – I’d even go so far as to say it’s prob­a­bly the most dif­fi­cult record I’ve had to write, be­cause it comes from such a dark, an­gry place.

Did hav­ing to un­dergo surgery on your vo­cal cords part­way through the year feed into that at all?

“I ac­tu­ally think the surgery was a to­tal bless­ing in dis­guise. I’m singing bet­ter – get­ting more range in my vo­cals than I ever have. But, the real crazy shit is, I had to give up gluten be­cause it turned out I had an in­tol­er­ance that was af­fect­ing my voice. I was get­ting acid in­flux and hav­ing to fight all the mu­cus back all the time.”

You’ve toured a lot as a sup­port band on the In­car­nate run. Will the next record see you com­ing back as a head­liner in your own right?

“Yeah, we’ve had a lot of good of­fers lately! Some of these tour spots were im­pos­si­ble to turn down, but I can’t wait to come back over and do our own shows. I think we’re mak­ing the right choice – it gets us out to dif­fer­ent crowds who might not even be fully aware of us. It’s im­por­tant – we’re try­ing to ex­pand our fan­base, so that when we do come back we can grab it by the throat on a head­line tour.” KSE TOUR WITH PARK­WAY DRIVE THIS MONTH. THEIR NEW AL­BUM LANDS LATER THIS YEAR

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