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Four-band metal juggernaut crashes into ShoWare Center Nov. 11
The ShoWare Center in Kent offers up a quadruple dose of metal madness Monday with the Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Testament and Huntress tour swinging into Kent for a one-night stand.
Although all four bands faithfully mine the traditional metal standards, featuring screaming distorted guitars, thundering drums and dynamic vocals, each band brings its own slant on the genre. From Lamb of God's brutality, to Killswitch Engage's metalcore mix of hardcore punk and heavy metal, to Testament's old school thrash to the more traditional swords and sorcery themes dredged up by Huntress, the show features something for every metal head.
"You get four different bands that have four very different styles, and it's all gelling and working together," Killswitch Engage vocalist Jess Leach said. "And the fans have been amazing."
Although Leach's bandmates in Killswitch Engage - guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz, bassist Mike D'Antonio, drummer Justin Foley and guitarist Joel Stroetzl - may be used to the big time spectacle of an arena co-headlining tour, courtesy of their successful decade-plus career, it's all new to Leach.
After helping co-found the band and releasing two albums, 2000's eponymous release and 2002's critically acclaimed "Alive or Just Breathing", Leach left the band.
"I had a breakdown on tour and went through a pretty deep depression," he said. "I wasn't confident with my instrument or as a person. It's one thing growing up wanting to be in a band and wanting to tour, and then when you hit the road, it's different than what you expected. I don't think I was prepared back then for the lifestyle and the toll it takes on your mind. I just had to leave and take myself out of that."
To cope with the darkness, Leach said, he threw himself into work, putting in up to 80 hours a week at three jobs, to get his mind off his depression.
"It's hard to say how I came out of it but I just worked my fingers to the bone and tried to sort myself out," he said.
Meanwhile, Killswitch Engage – with new singer Howard Jones handling vocals – climbed the success ladder, helping define the metalcore genre and becoming a fan favorite.
"I ignored that for quite a while, it was a total disconnect," Leach said. "When you're depressed stuff happens in your head you can't explain, and I think that I just became a different person."
Leach kept in contact with Dutkiewicz on a personal level but added that it took a couple years before music began to matter to him again.
"After that I did kind of kick myself a little [for leaving the band], but I knew I had to take care of myself and live a different lifestyle," he said.
Soon Leach took to the stage again, forming the band Seemless with an all-star lineup of New England metal musicians, including Derek Kerswill and Pete Cortese.
"These great musicians I knew that had a great reputation and good ideas send me a CD and it was very much like Soundgarden, stoner rock stuff and I just thought it would be cool to do that for fun," he said. "No pressure, just play some bars, play some rock and roll and do some music. I was ready for it."
Eventually Leach found his way back into a band with Dutkiewicz, forming Times of Grace.
In 2012, however, after three albums and almost a decade with Killswitch Engage, Jones announced he was leaving the band, opening the door for Leach's return.
"I didn't initially think I was the guy for the job so I turned it down at first," he said. "I wasn't sure if I could do somebody else's material and do it justice. I eventually decided that I couldn't let a third singer come into the band because we know a third singer is not a charm. I just thought I'd give it a shot."
On April 22, 2012 Leach played his first return show as Killswitch's new/old singer at the New England Metal and Hardcore Festival.
"It was unreal, still," he said. "It's been amazing since then, almost memory loss, it's been a blur."
A new album – "Disarm the Descent" – followed a year later and a couple months ago the band was pitched the co-headlining tour with Lamb of God.
"I thought it was perfect timing, it was great," Leach said. "After all the stuff Randy's [Blythe, Lamb of God lead singer who was tried and acquitted of manslaughter in the Czech Republic after a fan fell from the stage and died] been through it's great seeing him up doing his thing. I have a lot of respect for the guy. For me I was just extremely excited.
"Every band has their own style and are bringing their A game. It's been awesome, no weak links," Leach said. "It's a one-two-three-four punch all the way."
Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Testament and Huntress take the stage at the ShoWare Center at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.) Monday, Nov. 11. Tickets are $28.50-$33 in advance and $32.50-$37 day of show. For more information or to buy tickets, visit www.showarecenter.com.
For a chance to win tickets to the show, courtesy NorthWest Music Scene and Metal411.com, go to http://rockn.ro/66k.