Interview: Killswitch Engage on ‘Atonement’ Album, Opening for Iron Maiden
Killswitch Engage's Jesse Leach and Adam D. joined us in the Loudwire studio to chat about their new record, Atonement and what they learned opening for Iron Maiden on the "Legacy of the Beast" European tour. We also found out what Leach listens to on the bus that drives Adam completely nuts.
The conversation starts off talking about the album opener, "Unleashed." It's an immediate standout in the Killswitch catalog and when asked how this one came together, Adam D. broke it down into two simple parts: "I wrote it and then he sang it!"
What we did learn about the song was that it was originally intended to be an entrance theme song for a wrestler, though that wrestler's name remains under lock and key, at least for now.
Leach's powerful clean singing on the song is perhaps his strongest studio work to date, at least to the ears of this interviewer, and he credits vocal coach Melissa Cross with expanding his range and versatility following vocal surgery last year. "This time around it was dealing with the speech, which I've never really done. Learning the basics of speech opened up a whole other world to the voice in general," he confessed. "She saved my career."
With another tour on the horizon (a co-headliner with Clutch), we asked if there's any bands Leach listens to on the bus that annoys Adam and vice versa. Leach singled out Lady Gaga without hesitation, but praised her talent, admitting it's just not for him.
"You just play music too loud. You have no idea how to listen to music comfortably. It's like 'Jesus dude, I want to have a conversation. For fuck's sake turn it down,'" fired back Adam D., who doesn't have the same appreciation for deafening reggae music as his singer does.
One thing everyone can appreciate, however, is the splendor of Iron Maiden live. Last summer, Killswitch Engage were the special guest on Maiden's "Legacy of the Beast" tour, and we asked the guys what they learned from touring with the legendary British group.
Unsurprisingly, the first thing Adam D. said was that it's difficult to open for Maiden. That we already knew and the two went on to praise the kindness and level of professionalism demonstrated by Maiden's 'Killer Crew,' Bruce Dickinson welcoming them to the tour and watching from the side of the stage "dressed as a pirate."
"It was like a Broadway show mixed with a metal band," Leach said, still blown away by the spectacle. The singer had one big takeaway from the summer as he explained, "I tried to be a better frontman for sure. Bigger body movements, just try to put on a better show. I was totally inspired by Bruce. He's an incredible frontman."
Watch the full interview in the video at the top of the page.
Killswitch Engage's eighth album, Atonement, will be released on Aug. 16 on Metal Blade. Get your copy at the Killswitch Engage website and head here for more album details and to listen to the new single, "Unleashed."
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