Killswitch Engage

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Killswitch Engage

When US rockers Killswitch Engage disarm and descend on our east coast next week, they’ll be bringing with them a rare treat. Bassist Mike D spilled the beans: “We’re coming over with L.A.-based Kill Devil Hill [not to be confused with The Kill Devil Hills, country crooners from Fremantle] – Pantera’s Rex Brown is heading up the band. I’m a huge Pantera fan, though I haven’t seen them live yet. I’m waiting for the surprise the first night we play – I think we’ll be a match made in heaven.”
Mike D knows a thing or two about metal. Since their inception in1999, Killswitch Engage has sold millions of records and are known in the right circles as one of the founders of metalcore. “I feel like we’re one of the few bands that have held the course and stayed true to what we wanted to do. We’ve been truly tested, with members leaving and a couple of health scares, but having the fans stick by us has been unreal.”
The most notable roadblocks that the guys have come include lead guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz’s continual, crippling back issues, and the shock departure of longtime lead vocalist Howard Jones. They say every cloud has a silver lining and, to the surprise of many, original frontman Jesse Leach returned in 2012 after a decade away. Happily, it was a welcome reunion.
“We’ve been a band for fifteen years, and for Jesse it feels like he’s seeing everything for the first time. It’s reinvigorating us old jaded guys who’ve seen it all!” Mike joked.
“Not only is his stage presence incredible, there’s also a lot more emotion on stage. We’re really excited about how he’s taken the Howard songs and poured his heart and soul into them. He’s just full of energy; he’s like a Mexican jumping bean. He’s all over the place, so we’ve had to step up our game, too.”
Disarm the Descent is the latest release from KSE. Critics have hailed it a “true standout” and “nothing short of amazing”. Mike appeared humbled by the comments, but added: “We’d been sitting on a few of these songs forever, so finally getting back in the studio after so long felt incredible and we’ve loved every minute playing these songs live. I can promise you antics and a lot of fun on stage. We particularly love it when the crowd join in and participate with us.”
Now that they’ve thrown down the challenge, let’s hope they can deliver. Mike and the guys have set a fevered pace this year, and it’s fixed to continue. “Right now we’re in Japan but before that we played South Africa. I couldn’t believe how beautiful it was and that they have accents just like yours! If nothing else it’s warmed us up to come and play for you guys. It’ll be an honour and a privilege – as long as Jesse’s voice holds up, we’ll be good to go.”
Before saying goodbye, Mike remembered his highlight from their last Australian trip: “Personally, I can’t wait to see the weird wildlife you guys have. Last time we were there we saw some crazy creatures – one looked like a squirrel or a muskrat, and we were hunting it for a bit. I’m sure it had rabies, so I don’t think it was a smart thing to do!”
When&Where: The Palace, Melbourne – April 13.
Written by Natalie Rogers