Kill­switch En­gage at The Sig­nal

Chattanooga Times Free Press - ChattanoogaNow - - MUSIC - BY ALAN SCULLEY COR­RE­SPON­DENT

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.”

CON­TRIB­UTED BY LAST WORD FEA­TURES

Kill­switch En­gage

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