B&E: Killswitch Engage

Breaking & Entering: A look at acts breaking at radio and retail and entering Billboard charts. This week: Killswitch Engage.

Profiling acts breaking at radio and/or retail and entering Billboard's charts.

With its first Grammy nomination and upcoming major tour, metal group Killswitch Engage is just beginning its high profile journey.

The quartet, which recently wrapped the Jagermeister Music Tour with Slayer and Mastodon, will kick off the inaugural Taste of Chaos tour in mid-February alongside the Used, My Chemical Romance, Senses Fail and Static Lullaby.

With "The End of Heartache," the title track of the band's second Roadrunner Records full-length, nomination for the best metal performance Grammy, it puts the band in the vaunted company of fellow nominees Motorhead, Hatebreed and labelmates Slipknot and Cradle Of Filth.

"It's great to be able to tell your parents that finally you've made something of this," says bassist Mike D'Antonio, who quit a lucrative job as a graphic designer to pursue his career with the band. "It really blew everyone's mind, but it's really cool to have that validity."

D'Antonio, who played with underground metal group Overcast until its split in 1998, founded Killswitch with former Aftershock drummer Adam Dutkiewitz and guitarist Joel Stroetzel. Original singer Jesse David Leach, with whom the group released its 2000 self-titled full-length debut on Ferret and 2002 Roadrunner debut, "Alive or Just Breathing," rounded out the lineup until voice problems caused his exit from the group before recording "Heartache."

D'Antonio says the confidence level of new vocalist Howard Jones is "tenfold. He's an extremely strong presence and is able to command the crowd to raise their hands and jump up and down. He's not second-guessing himself."

Billboard's Bram Teitelman agreed in a May review of the album: "The band remains true to the sound it engineered on the last album; a riff-heavy, dual guitar approach merges with Jones' alternately shrieking and crooning vocals. The melodic choruses and musicianship are what make Killswitch unique."

"The End of Heartache," which debuted in May at No. 21 of The Billboard 200, has sold 200,000 copies to date and produced the band's first charting radio single. The title track continues to climb the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart, where it is No. 32 this week.

"It's amazing," says D'Antonio of the following the group has amassed from touring alone. "Every tour has stepped up another notch and maybe that's a more credible way to get big, rather than the bands that get tons of money thrown at them [from labels] and are instantly a success whether anyone comes to their shows or not."

Roadrunner is planning a March 1 release of a special edition of "The End of Heartache" featuring seven bonus tracks and two videos.

Artist: www.killswitchengage.com
Label: www.roadrun.com