Killswitch Engage
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Jesse Leach has returned to the rock act for their sixth studio album.

A change in singers made for a sea change in sound on Killswitch Engage's upcoming new album, "Disarm the Descent."

Guitarist and producer Adam Dutkiewicz tells Billboard that the 12-song set, KSE's sixth overall, was written for previous frontman Howard Jones. But after Jones left in last year and original singer Jesse Leach returned to the lineup, "We gave the demos to Jesse and let him run with them. The only kind of goal I had, personally, was to make a more aggressive record and give it a little more teeth than the last record (2009's 'Killswitch Engage'), which was a little too singer-songwritery to me. And after that, the main thing we were concerned about with Jesse was that he was going to be able to give those songs some character and do 'em justice. And he did."

Dutkiewicz says that although KSE "tried out a bunch of people" to take Jones' place, Leach "was on top of the list," especially after working with Dutkiewicz in the side band Times Of Grace.

"We toured with him first, and it was evident to me that any of the old issues he had with maintaining his throat and whether he wanted to be a musician or not were resolved," Dutkiewicz says. "He was taking care of himself on the road, and it became clear after several tours that he was the man for the job."

KSE has preceded "Disarm The Descent" with its first single, "In Due Time." Dutkiewicz says that in addition to a heavier sound, the subject matter of the songs also took on a serious tenor under Leach's lyrical pen.

"There's a lot of stuff on the record that's kind of looking at the world and looking at other people's situations, somebody looking from the outside instead of writing completely about himself or things he's going through," the guitarist notes. "There's a lot of dark stuff on the record. I know Jesse gets the rep of being very positive all the time, but the stuff he talks about on this record, some pretty unhappy stuff gets on there."

KSE is part of this year's Soundwave Festival Australia, which starts Feb. 23 in Birsbane. The group will hit Hawaii and Alaska on the way back, then plans to head to Europe during the spring and play a combination of North American and European festival dates during the summer, with more U.S. shows in the fall. Dutkiewicz, meanwhile, is executive producing the next Devil Wears Prada album and hopes to launch a thrash metal side-project with former Black Dahlia Murder drummer Shannon Lucas and others.