Killswitch Engage at The Signal
Killswitch Engage bassist Mike D’Antonio has been able to get in touch with his inner rock- androll child in recent months.
“My 11- or 12-year- old self is freaking out seeing all this craziness that’s going on,” D’Antonio said in a phone interview.
The reason for such madness: Kill switch Engage got to tour with two bands that D’Antonio’s loved since he was a kid.
First came a U.S. winter co- headlining tour with Anthrax, which along with Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer, form the “Big 4,” so named for their influence as founding fathers of the modern metal scene.
“I was a hardcore (music) kid growing up,” D’Antonio said. “There were only a few different metal bands that I would actually tell people that I liked because I was a snobby hardcore kid. But Metallica and Anthrax were the two that were right up there.”
In May, Killswitch Engage got to open a tour in Europe for metal legend Iron Maiden, followed by a run in the United Kingdom in August.
“The tour with Maiden is pretty high up there on the scale of metal things to do — and in their home area,” D’Antonio said. “You can’t get much bigger than that.”
The only downside to landing those two dream tours was the roadwork delayed work on a new Killswitch Engage album. The band was planning to get into the studio earlier this year — but then the opportunity to tour with Anthrax came about.
D’Antonio and his bandmates — vocalist Jesse Leach, guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz, guitarist Joe Stroetzel and drummer Justin Foley — are taking steps to get the next album finished as soon as possible, doing work when they’ve had the opportunity.
The next album will be the eighth studio effort from the band, which formed in 1999 in Westfield, Massachusetts. It arrives after Killswitch Engage has rebounded from a period of serious uncertainty.
In 2012, as the band was starting to work on a sixth album, then-vocalist How- ard Jones, who had replaced original vocalist Leach in 2002 and spent a decade with Killswitch Engage, quit the band. His departure left the future of the group very much up in the air.
But questions about whether the band would continue went away when Leach returned and showed he was ready to handle the demands of fronting Killswitch Engage and again being a key songwriter and lyricist for the band.
“He’s a more focused person these days,” D’Antonio said of Leach. “I think the last time around, he was a little frazzled. He didn’t quite know how to control his voice. He didn’t know how to keep it at a certain level for days on end. It would always kind of cut out on him and he didn’t know why. It would really stress him out. I think he’s gotten to that level where he’s a full-time band guy and that’s what he wants to do. He’s really focused now.”
D’Antonio said the band has more than 20 songs demoed for the next album, and while those songs may still evolve and additional tunes could get written, the new album seems to be heading toward the thrashier side of the Killswitch Engage sound.
“To me, i t’s sounding more ‘ Disarm The Descent-y,’ which to us was kind of our really aggressive sort of (sound),” D’Antonio said, referencing the band’s 2013 album. “I feel like this one is definitely moody and emotional and it’s got some really heavy and fast stuff going on. Who knows what the record will actually turn out like, but right now it is a beast.”