Howard Jones On New Blood Has Been Shed Music “I Don’t Know If It’ll Ever See The Light Of Day”

Howard Jones has long been one of metalcore’s stand out vocalists.  From fronting one of the pioneering bands in the genre in Blood Has Been Shed, who’s punishing down tuned odd time signature riffs and spastic delivery is something bands in the scene have long copied.  Jones would go on to replace Jesse Leach in Killswitch Engage and help take that band from the underground to the forefront of the genre with standout albums like Grammy nominated “The End Of Heartache” and “As Daylight Dies”. Mental health issues would see Jones step down from the KSE ranks, subsequently being replaced by the man he replaced in Leach.  Howard would reemerge with a new project in tow, Devil You Know, who would eventually become Light The Torch amid some legal issues with a former member. Light The Torch put out their debut, Revival, in 2018. Continue reading

Review: KILLSWITCH ENGAGE – ‘Atonement’ [Song Stream]

 

If you’ve not heard of Killswitch Engage by now, number one: you are severely missing out on some of the best music out there, and number two: you definitely live under a rock. Killswitch has been releasing perfect album after album since 1999; they hail from Massachusetts. They are credited as one of the most successful bands from the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement. They have continued to headline international tours and have massive festival appearances. “Atonement” will be their eight LP and the follow-up to the masterpiece, “Incarnate” from 2016. The aforementioned album will be their very first release via Metal Blade Records on August 16. Killswitch Engage is metalcore perfection. If it is not already obvious, KSE is one of my all time favorite bands and I may or may not have shed a tear whilst at their shows. 

As it should, “Atonement” begins with a roar- it really does! “Unleashed” is the opening track and the first single the band shared. The first thing that many Killswitch fans will recognize is how flawless singer, Jesse Leach’s vocals sound. Many know that he underwent vocal surgery last spring, and to say he’s made a recovery is an understatement. Perhaps some of his strongest recorded performances yet are found on the new album. “Unleashed” doesn’t particularly stray too far from the tried and true Killswitch Engage formula, but that’s okay because they do it so goddamn well. The song has a verse that sticks and a chorus that ends with a sick breakdown. What more could you need?

The second track is something that many KSE followers have dreamed about for years and it has finally happened. Jesse Leach and the band’s former frontman, Howard Jones (who should need no introduction at all, but it anyone was wondering, he currently fronts Light the Torch) on one song together. This, I believe, will solve all the worlds’ problems. “The Signal Fire” comes in hot, with a deathcore introduction and it’s thrashy in your face feel. The chorus is a total earworm with such conviction. Jesse and Howard together is every girls dream… or maybe it’s just mine? Regardless, these two sound perfect and this is a standout track. 

“The Crownless King,” is such a fist pumping pit starter. This one will go over extremely well live. A great mid tempo track with soaring vocals, “As Sure as the Sun Will Rise.” Of course it’s impossible to review “Atonement” without addressing the song with the first video from the record, “I Am Broken Too.” Leach has been very forthcoming with his personal struggles with mental health in past lyrics and this one is no acception. It’s stripped down and a little more simple and incredibly powerful. Killswitch Engage both on record and live, is a great balance. Songs like this one, and older tracks like “Arms of Sorrow” and “Rose of Sharyn” deal with heavy topics and then there are just some straight up bangers. The ever amusing guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz brings the comedic relief to their sets, dawning headbands that read, “TRASH” and spurting out lewd and insane remarks. Killswitch knows when it’s time to be serious and when it’s time to be Adam.  

Like every album before and like every album will be, “Atonement” is fantastic. Currently in first place for metalcore album of the year, curated by myself. It’s out August 16 on Metal Blade and currently up for preorder. A European tour is in order for the fall, but if you are in the states you can catch them (along with many others) at the first inaugural Exit 111 Festival in October, taking place in Tennessee. This record will not disappoint and if you haven’t seen Killswitch Engage live, you’re dead to me. 

 

Sonic Temple Saturday Review & Photo Gallery

Gojira

A hot Columbus morning greeted the concert goers as they arrived at Mapfre Stadium for Day 2 of the Sonic Temple Arts and Music Festival. The sun was beaming down and and there wasn’t much relief from the wind. There also wasn’t as many people lined up waiting to get in when the gates opened. Maybe it was the late first night that kept those numbers down.

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Howard Jones On Listening To Hip Hop “It’s A Way To Get Away From Heavier Music For A Little While”

Light The Torch

 

In 2012 left Killswitch Engage to gain control of his diabetes, which had been hard to control while on tour. There wasn’t much time off for him as he almost immediately formed Devil You Know. The original lineup of the band was Howard on vocals, Francesco Artusato (All Shall Perish, Hiss of Atrocities) – guitars, Ryan Wombacher  (Bleeding Through)– bass, backing vocals, Roy Lev-Ari (Hiss of Atrocities) – guitars and John Sankey (Divine Heresy, Fear Factory)– drums. Since then Roy Lev-Ari and John Sankey have left the band. The current drummer of the band is Mike Sciulara (Extinction A.D.). I was fortunate enough to see the band a couple times while on tour with Coal Chamber and on stage they put on an amazing show. Devil You Know released two albums ‘The Beauty of Destruction’ (2014) and ‘They Bleed Red’  (2015). Then on July 26, 2017, the band announced via social media that they have changed their name to Light the Torch. The band in a way wanted a fresh start, and I believe the name has a better ring to it. The band is now set to release their debut under the name Light The Torch with ‘Revival’ which released on March 30, 2018. Continue reading

IN FLAMES, NORMA JEAN & LIGHT THE TORCH At SWX Bristol [Review & Photo Gallery]

In Flames

On arrival to the SWX Bristol, UK, the queue was already around the block an hour before doors opened – wow! I’ve not seen this at the SWX for some time. Fans were keen to get in and watch this awesome lineup Continue reading

PARKWAY DRIVE, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, THY ART IS MURDER Dominate The UK [Review & Photo Gallery]

Parkway Drive may have only scheduled 4 dates for their UK tour but with the jaw dropping lineup of support acts they have bestowed upon us pure metal happiness. Kicking things off is Parkway Drive’s fellow Australian’s Thy Art Is Murder using their deathcore sound to get the crowd pumped right from the start, they are followed by metalcore royalty with Killswitch Engage who have been on a roll since original singer Jesse Leach re-joined the band. Then the proverbial cherry on top of course is Parkway Drive touring in support of their tremendous new record ‘Reverence.’ This tour February 1st stop in Cardiff at Motorpoint Arena was bound to be explosive.

Thy Art Is Murder

 

From the get go the lads in Thy Art Is Murder were not messing around whilst smashing straight in with “Dear Desolution” with its ultra fast double bass drum and fast runs and riffs on the guitars. Then CJ kicks in with his unique powerful screams, growls and shouts, the crowd went nuts. This is the first time I’ve witnessed them live and to see them grace a stage like this arena was amazing, they looked right at home. I can only imagine what a smaller show would be like (carnage) but then they played the fourth song on the setlist “Reign Of Darkness” and CJ asked the crowd to split for a wall of death. It was at least a 20 foot gap from the front of the arena to the back. Then bang the charge from the crowd and for the next two songs the crowd was going insane. Ending on “Puppet Master” was a great choice with that pounding snare hitting intro got the crowd banging their heads. As the momentum picked up they knew it was their last chance to dance so they went crazy for CJ and crew. I can’t wait to witness this again soon.

Killswitch Engage

Not gonna lie I’m a huge Killswitch Engage fan and have been since day one. Recently I witnessed them supporting Iron Maiden last year at the London o2 which was a phenomenal performance and to be fair it always is. Tonight people who had a ticket were in for a treat. They played 11 songs in total and a great mixture of old and new. You could tell they had a lot of fans in the audience due to the amount of singing going on and especially to “My Curse” and “My Last Serenade” the crowd were nearly drowning out the band they singing along so loud. I was hoping Guitarist Adam D was going to pop to the bar and order a couple shots mid song like he did at a recent show whilst still playing his guitar (We’ve all seen that video right?). I was waiting but sadly this didn’t happen (search for the video its awesome). Watching Adam’s quirky personality on stage is always amazing, the faces he pulls are great along with his jogging around the stage, he is in my eyes one of the best guitarists out there. Jesse Leach is just one of those flawless live vocalists, he sounded perfect in every way. I normally don’t say this but it was great vocal deliveries all night long. He delivers just as good as the album version live. He deserves a lot of respect, hats off to you sir! The pit was crazy from start to finish. I stood just out of the area and saw a random shoe on the ground and then another shoe made it to the stage. As Jesse asked who’s it was, well there was either one person with no shoes or two people with one shoe…ha ha ha. One more thing to look out for is a new album from Killswitch Engage this year and 2019 marks the 20 year anniversary of the band so I’m sure its going to be a banger of an album.

Parkway Drive

 

So the time has come for the Australian lads in Parkway Drive to hit the stage. The lights dimmed and the band appeared at the back of the venue with four of their crew surrounding them with flame torches. They walked through the crowd to the stage with the intro to “Wishing Wells” before gracing the stage and continuing to deliver the rest of this tune from ‘Reverence’. Lights dimmed to an almighty roar, Parkway Drive officially warmed the crowd up together with the amount of pyros, explosions and flame throwers from all sides of stage.

The stand out tunes for me were “Carrion,” “Vice Grip” and “Wild Eyes.” To hear everyone in the crowd chanting to the riff like on the album version was incredible and vocalist Winston McCall looked like that gets him amped every night. Drummer Ben Gordon is a beast on the kit, he’s a drummer I’ve liked for a while now. If you wanna be a hard hitting drummer just watch this guy. He didn’t let up all night and had 17 tunes to play, just wish he had his drum cradle tonight but unfortunately some venues can’t accommodate everything in a bands production. To be fair, it did not matter as Parkway Drive let the music and performance do the talking. Winston McCall did say it felt like last week they were playing Merthyr Tydfil to 10 people and he couldn’t sing ha ha.

Well I was there in the early days and not so long ago when people used to turn up with inflatable boats and crowd surf in them, amazing times. However, to see this band progress into what they are now and to be doing arena tours is well deserved. I hope the momentum for them keeps growing. If you manage to get to a show you can expect explosions, flames, fire balls from all directions, a string section joining them and Winston McCall going to a little stage at the sound desk to join a cello player to perform with elevating platforms which Luke Kilpatrick and Jeff Ling were lifted high up above the stage. I read an article saying there are no bands coming up to replace the legendary bands we are losing, well think again, they are here and they are called Parkway Drive. They have always been here and right now they are getting the recognition for their hard work over the last 16 years. So stadiums might be next on the agenda? I certainly hope so. I would like to wish every member of the band all the best for the future. We can only hope they help influence a new generation of bands that are even half as talented as they are.

 

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, BORN OF OSIRIS, CROWBAR, & DEATH RAY VISION Rage In Chattanooga

Killswitch Engage

After being forced to postpone a handful of dates back in the spring so lead vocalist Jesse Leach could undergo vocal cord surgery, Killswitch Engage was back with a vengeance for a quick ten date fall run (makeup dates plus a few bonus shows) that would see them finish out their US commitments in early December before heading overseas in early 2019. Joining in on the fun were one of Killswitch bass player Mike D’Antonio’s other bands Death Ray Vision, sludge metal kings the almighty Crowbar, and progressive metalcore quintet Born of Osiris. Continue reading

Jesse Leach Requires Surgery; KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Cancels Tour!

Modern metallers KILLSWITCH ENGAGE in a sudden turn of events have been forced to cancel their upcoming tour from April 26th through May 5th. The unpleasant news has come in the wake of Jesse Leach’s surgery, to fix his vocal chords, an issue that has been stopping him from performing in his full capacity lately. Jesse is expected to pull of a quick full recovery, but to inhibit any damages to his vocal chords for future touring, the band chose to take the hard decision to call the curtains down off a few dates. Here is what the band has to say about the same.

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Howard Jones Hanging With KILLSWITCH ENGAGE Recently “They Are Friends Who Saw Me At My Worst…It Was Good To See Them Again”

Some of you may know Howard Jones from the legendary time he spend in Killswitch Engage. He spent 10 years in the band from 2002 – 2012.  The first album that Howard appeared on was 2004’s ‘The End of Heartache’. Howard replaced singer Jesse Leach that had fell into a depression and decided to quit the band telling the band via email right before they had some shows lined up. Killswitch quickly started looking for a replacement. The previous album ‘Alive Or Just Breathing’ was the last to feature Leach. The album had some critical response so the success of ‘The End Of Heartache’ sealed the deal that the band had made the right decision in selecting a new vocalist. The title track was nominated for Best Metal Performance for the 47th Annual Grammy Awards. The album also was certified Gold by the RIAA on December 7, 2007. Killswitch Engage was/is one of those bands that instantly grabbed the attention of most metal heads. Not just any band can cover Dio’s “Holy Diver” and still be accepted by the metal world. In 2012 Howard left the band to gain control of his diabetes, which had been hard to control while on tour. There wasn’t much time off for him as he almost immediately formed Devil You Know. The original lineup of the band was Howard on vocals, Francesco Artusato (All Shall Perish, Hiss of Atrocities) – guitars, Ryan Wombacher (Bleeding Through) – bass, backing vocals, Roy Lev-Ari (Hiss of Atrocities) – guitars and John Sankey (Divine Heresy, Fear Factory)– drums. Since then Roy Lev-Ari and John Sankey have left the band. The current drummer of the band is Mike Sciulara (Extinction A.D.). I was fortunate enough to see the band a couple times while on tour with Coal Chamber and on stage they put on an amazing show. Howard’s vocals are still brilliant and he carries that same perfect tone he made so famous in Killswitch. Devil You Know released two albums ‘The Beauty of Destruction’ (2014) and ‘They Bleed Red’  (2015). The on July 26, 2017, the band announced via social media that they have changed their name to Light the Torch. The band in a way wanted a fresh start, and I believe the name has a better ring to it. The band is now set to release their debut under the name Light The Torch with ‘Revival’ which will be out on March 30, 2018. The singles “Calm Before The Storm” and “Die Alone” has already been released from the album and if this is any indication the album is going to be a complete success.  Continue reading