Killswitch Engage's Jessie Leach: 'This is My Best Vocal Performance'

Original singer talks about his return to Killswitch Engage.

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Killswitch Engage singer Jessie Leach says their new album "Disarm The Descent" features his best vocal performance to date.

Leach was the original vocalist for Killswitch Engage, and has now returned to replace Howard Jones who left the band in 2012 after 9 years fronting the band.

"To me, this is by far my best vocal performance, much thanks to Adam's guidance and faith in my abilities," said Leach (via Blabbermouth). "I am very grateful to be where I am in life, back in an amazing band with a record we are all excited for the world to hear. Thanks to all the fans for their warm welcome back and their undying love for."

He added that there was a lot to live up to after Howard kept fans so happy for so long.

"The big thing for me, was to prove myself to them and myself that I can sing Howard's songs," said Leach. "That I can handle the material and I could do it genuinely. Where I was feeling what I was singing, so I had to really read the lyrics and make them my own. I feel like after we jammed on those tracks, I was like 'I can do this. We got this.'"

Watch the full interview below.

What do you think of Leach's return to Killswitch Engage? Are you excited about the new record? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

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61 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I'm glad to see a genuine respect for former members of the band. Thank you KSE for a great album!
    I'm glad he's back. I missed his lyrics and the heavy sound of the band. I think it is a solid album.
    I'm sick of people arguing Howard vs. Jesse. People should just be thankful that they had a chance to listen to both of them and can argue two great singers. Solid album all around and Jesse's voice is great. It's nice that his vocals sound that good live too.
    dyl shermanator
    I can live with it, just listened to In due time, and in comparison to my last serenade his vocals have changed and I like his heavy vocals. Although I think that Howard's clean vocals are better. It did take me a moment to get used to it after hearing Howard for 9 years tho, and this was the first i listened to Jesse, but I can live with it and still be proud to call myself a fan.
    Jesse basically brought the band out of a total slump. Howard's syrupy voice really toned them down, and I feel like the music was beginning to try and compliment the voice rather than vice versa. And practically every song was about heartache. I got into KSE when Howard was in the band, and I don't even miss him that much after listening to this new album. My high school heroes are playing like heroes again. And Jesse is straight up killing it. KSE was never supposed to be this super clean melodic band. The whole band was raised in a metal and hardcore scene that prided itself (and still does) on having really visceral and urgent sounding music. Having Jesse back brings KSE back to metal and not to the heavy rock stuff that they were becoming with the last album. Howard had a good run; Jesse will always be KSE. That's that.
    I've seen Jesse in concert and he's gotten pretty good!
    no doubt people can make comebacks and increase their skills. Ivan from five finger death punch got kicked out of my buddy's dad's band because he couldn't sing. Took some vocal lessons, boom, FFDP.
    dyl shermanator
    a follow up on my last comment, listened to the new album, and also listened to Jessie singing some of the songs Howard did... he nails it, and the new album is boss. I am happy with it.
    No matter how talented Howard is, the three albums prior to this all sounded far too similar, in my book. The End of Heartache was a masterful release, much like Alive or Just Breathing. As Daylight Dies and Self-Titled, though, sounded too much like The End of Heartache. I still liked each album, but on Disarm the Descent, it's good to hear some of the death and melodeath elements that were so present on Alive or Just Breathing.
    i really like Disarm the descent! I was nervous for the vocals, after Times of grace. Times of grace is great, but the vocals had so much effects on and buried any "real" vocal performance. I actually like Jesse's voice better than Howard in many ways, but i still like Howard offcourse and hoping to hear from him soon..
    So what if he used effects in times of grace? That project kicked some serious ass! Hymn of a Broken Man and Strength in Numbers are the best songs he have released with any project!
    i agree! but if there is one negative thing about it, then its the vocals sound. it's sounds overproduced and there is no "mistakes" anywhere, vocally or intruments, meaning i think it felt very scripted and there was never anything unplanned happening. which is what i love about the artists i listen to.
    I agree. There really is such a thing as too perfect, where everything just sounds...robotic
    KsE is probably my fave band of all time but I'm a bit disappointed with this album... Sigh, it's a tad bit generic and doesn't have many memorable songs.
    People keep saying that but I don't really find anything generic with it. If anything, KSE did more generic songs with Howard (End of Heartache) in my opinion. Either way, both guys are great vocalists and all KSE albums kick ass.
    I enjoy both Jesse and Howard. I think they needed Jesse back though. That last self titled album with howard was just awful. Disarm the Descent kicks ass!
    I haven't heard Disarm The Descent yet, but if it sounds anything like Times Of Grace, I'm getting it
    Listened to it and with jesse sounds horribly generic. Dont think i can see this growing.
    Thats what I'm also fearing. Howard brought something different with his powerful melodic voice but Jesse has always been the screamer type which most bands are these days.
    Jesse had plenty of "melodic" vocals on their first album...what are you guys talking about? He was one of the pioneers of that genre. I don't need a guy that sounds like he's in a choir in order to do clean vocals.
    I wasn't too impressed with the album when I first listened to it but after the second listen through it latched on to me. There are weaker song on the album but the ones that rip make up for it. I will also say that Disarm The Decent is a million times better than their last self titled.
    I'm a fan of Howard's and I didn't know if Jesse could pull off singing his songs, but he's done one hell of a job. The new album sounds fantastic.
    I don't know to me KSE's best vocals were on Alive or Just Breathing. Jesse's screams were so raw and emotional. His cleans were never amazing back then but quite frankly I felt like Howard's clean voice was a bit too anthemic and operatic for KSE. To be honest though KSE was NEVER a band I would listen to thinking "oh man those clean vocals are the best". Not sure how I feel about this new album, don't feel like his screams are the same. Listen to the song "Temple from the Within", you just can't compare it.
    Okay, I'm back. He sounds really good. I'm buying this album whenever I go to Best Buy next time. His singing is raw, which I like. None of that computer edited crap. His shouting, lows, and highs are top notch. It's ****ing great.
    I was a huge fan of Howard. I know this guy was the original and i think it's cool he's back in it and all, But i didn't care for KSE when he was in it the first time and i only heard the new single for the latest album, and wasn't crazy about it. He's not a bad singer by any means, but i just preferred Howard.
    dyl shermanator
    the album is way better than the single imo, so dont judge the sound by it, listen to the album first, then if you still dont like it, then that's you, but I did the same thing and wasn't too syked for it either, but then i listened to the album and was all for it.
    First!!!!! i think it will be tough to duplicate what Howard was doing vocally. his cleans were awesome and growls were brutal. haven't heard Jesse sing as yet so it should be interesting...
    Pwnasaurus Rex
    You're late by about 14 minutes, buddy. Either it took you that long to comment on this, or you just didn't pay attention. On topic, though, I'd have to say that I'm interested in how Jessie's vocals have progressed. I wasn't a big fan of him compared to Howard, but if he's improved (and Howard likes it), then it's definitely worth a listen, in my opinion.
    saw the article, didn't comment, never refreshed, posted comment, feel like a douche.... on the upside my comment got almost as many down votes as the one who got the medal... yay me...
    I miss Howard... Compare "Fixation on the Darkness". Howard FTW!!!
    I agreed until I listened to them both over and over. I like Jesse's raw and unpolished vox better.
    Jesse's lyrics were relatively positive, like "oh, yeah, life it tough, BUT go out and try hard cos it's also good and fun'. Howard was a bit of a whinge.
    Sounds truely like orginal KSE is back,though Howard brought a powerful melodic bravado with his singing,Jesse takes the band back to its roots and they sound pretty dam good after all the yrs gone by.
    i listened to a good 90% of the record so far and I honestly like jessies vocals. oh yeah, killswitch engages twitter retweeted my tweet about their album yesterday.
    Brilliant album. Gotta say this will be a very tough competition for what has been my favorite album of the year so far. Im still enjoying Senses Fail, The Color Morale, and am currently listening to part 2 from Stone Sour. All very solid releases in the hardcore/metal scene.
    Jesse was always the voice of the band, his vocals and lyrics amount to a lot to the masterful charm that Alive or Just Breathing had. After his departure Howard had a fresh touch, but album by album the novelty wore off. And for me, his extreme vocals were a joke compared to Jesse's.
    I'm gonna go through it relatively clearly if I can: I don't usually like singer vs singer arguments, because it's so damn inconclusive and hard to decide. I mean, I personally prefer Hagar era EVH to Roth era, because Hagar is a better singer, but I get why people like Roth. With Killswitch, Jesse gave the first album a sense of absolute ballsy driving energy that lifted the fairly hardcore-based instrumentals up two or three notches. Most of the End Of Heartache was written with Jesse, and that shows because a lot of the vocal melodies are so Jesse. We all knew Jesse wasn't the best singer, but he could scream his balls off and he sang with endless passion. Killswitch's 'melody' was largely due to the guitar lines and Jesse's well-chosen vocal lines. Howard was a much better singer. Some people (me included) found his overly nasal voice frustrating at times, but whilst he was certainly a better singer, his screams were weak and that didn't fit with Killswitch's visceral sound. The whole time whilst the band was moving away from it's roots with Howard, Jesse was in his personal 'wilderness', so to speak, learning how to sing well, learning how to better himself with none of the pressure Killswitch was experiencing. Howard is gone, and Jesse's return seems to have reminded Killswitch where they came from - this raw, ballsy metal band that were full of energy and power. Jesse has brought them back to their roots without losing the developments that came from their experience over the last decade. Also, Jesse can sing brilliantly now, his screams are gutsy and raw, and his lyrics not as negative as Howard's. I'm glad that Jesse is back. This album was one of the best this year, and I'm glad that equilibrium has been restored.
    I'm a big fan of Howard (vocally and personally) but it's good to see Jesse back. I'm actually looking forward to hearing this album.
    Its great, big step up from their last album. Good to have Jesse back, his Howard voice is almost as good as Howard, and he nails his older songs as well. Go KsE!
    Its great, big step up from their last album. Good to have Jesse back, his Howard voice is almost as good as Howard, and he nails his older songs as well. Go KsE!
    I enjoyed this guy's performance in Outside Providence. I wish I could say the same for his performance with this band... or I wish I could even say I enjoy this band.
    Howard Jones is Killswitch Engage, they should just change their name...this new guy should not even compare himself to Howard...
    Nice troll, considering this "new guy" was in Killswitch long before Howard....
    And if there should be a choice for one member to personificate Killswitch Engage, it would definetly be Adam D.