MORE ABOUT KILLSWITCH ENGAGE
Howard Jones: Vocals
Adam Dutkiewicz: Guitar
Joel Stroetzel: Guitar
Mike D’Antonio: Bass
Justin Foley: Drums
No shortcuts. No compromises. No BS. From their modest beginnings in New England’s hardcore scene to their current status as one of the most influential and inspirational forces in modern music, Killswitch Engage have played by these three simple rules. With their new, fourth album, As Daylight Dies, KsE are proving that if you keep playing the game your way, you’ll eventually change the rules for everyone else.
“We never consciously went out of our way to be different,” guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz says from the band’s home base in Westfield, Massachusetts. “When we started this band, we just wanted to play cool riffs and scream and sing. We liked many different sounds so we tried to incorporate all these rock and pop styles while keeping a good, solid metal mentality.” Eleven songs strong, As Daylight Dies isn’t just a testament to the band’s original vision; it’s also their strongest fusion of aggression, melody, rock and metal to date.
In hindsight, the potential for crossover success was there as early as 1998, when, after the breakup of his influential genre-crossing metal/hardcore unit Overcast, bassist Mike D’Antonio teamed up with AFTERSHOCK members Dutkiewicz (then on drums) and guitarist Joel Stroetzel, and singer Jesse Leach to form the earliest incarnation of KsE. With their Ferret Music debut album creating a major underground buzz, the group got the attention of Roadrunner Records, which signed KsE to a worldwide recording deal and released their 2002 sophomore full-length, Alive or Just Breathing.
Equal parts melody and brutality, Alive found Killswitch shooting to No. 37 on the Billboard’s Heatseeker Chart and storming metal radio while winning press accolades from publications as diverse as CMJ New Music Report and Alternative Press. And while the next year would see highs (breakout headlining tours) and lows (the departure of Leach in 2002 and drummer Tom Gomes in 2003), the eventual addition of Howard Jones (vocals) and Justin Foley (drums) from New England heavyweights Blood Has Been Shed would push KsE to the proverbial next level.
Released in 2004, debuting at #21 on Billboard’s Top 200 Albums Chart, The End Of Heartache was the sound of a band reinvigorated, with Jones’ powerful vocal dynamics and Foley’s jazz-trained percussive skills only amplifying the rhythmic assault and melodic range at KsE’s core. Fans and the media alike were floored. The album, which Rolling Stone described as “Stunning” and Spin declared “Badass” landed KsE their first-ever Grammy nomination. It is now currently pushing near-Gold-certified status in the U.S. “Out of all the attention we got from that record, the Grammy thing was the biggest mind-blower,” Dutkiewicz recalls with a chuckle. “It’s kind of like finally getting your diploma – or I guess in our case, almost getting your diploma.”
As Killswitch’s profile increased, so did the band’s reputation as a fearsome live act. Besides a plethora of headlining dates supporting Heartache, the band was main support for Slayer in 2004, made their second Ozzfest appearance as one of 2005’s second-stage headliners, and that same year helped anchor the inaugural Taste of Chaos tour where they shattered musical barriers nightly alongside My Chemical Romance and The Used. Additionally, the band entered the late night TV world performing their hit singles “The End of Heartache” and “Rose of Sharyn” on Jimmy Kimmel Live and Last Call with Carson Daly respectively. Recently the band completed their latest round of major festival dates overseas, including a Main Stage performance alongside Pearl Jam at Reading Festival in the UK. Jokes Dutkiewicz, they “needed binoculars to see the front row.” With As Daylight Dies completed, KsE are looking forward to getting up close and personal with fans during their upcoming headlining run.