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KILLSWITCH ENGAGE comprise Massachusetts Hardcore veterans from acts such as OVERCAST, AFTERSHOCK and CORRIN. The band, which would quickly rise as leading contendors of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal movement, was created in 1999 by erstwhile OVERCAST man Mike D'Antonio collaborated with AFTERSHOCK personnel Joel Stoetzel on guitar and drummer Adam Dutkiewicz. Shortly afterward, CORRIN frontman Jesse Leach (a.k.a. Jesse David) joined the new combo as KILLSWITCH ENGAGE was duly formed, apparently taking the band title from an episode of the Sci-Fi TV series 'The X Files'. The act debuted live as openers to Swedish Death Metal act IN FLAMES and a debut album for Ferret Music led in turn to a deal with Roadrunner Records.

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE would join headliners KITTIE alongside a support package of POISON THE WELL, SHADOWS FALL and HOTWIRE for a North American tour in the late Summer of 2002. Vocalist Jesse Leach announced his departure in mid June although reports issued later clarified that this was intended only as a temporary measure. Speculation immediately put ALL THAT REMAINS frontman Philip Labonte in line as the temporary fill in but it would be BLOOD HAD BEEN SHED frontman Howard Jones that landed the job.

Meantime, Leach founded a Christian orientated Stoner band dubbed SEEMLESS in union with ex-OVERCAST, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE and MEDIUM guitarist Pete Cortese, bassist Kevin Schuler and drummer Derek Kerswill of SHADOWS FALL.

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE formed up part of the roving 2003 'Ozzfest' package. The group would be back on the road in October for the five week 'Headbanger's Ball' dates alongside LAMB OF GOD, SHADOWS FALL, UNEARTH and GOD FORBID. Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz also made time to fire up BURN YOUR WISHES, an extracurricular band activity comprising UNEARTH guitarist Ken Suzi, THE ACACIA STRAIN bass player Karrie Whitfield and PICTURES OF GABRIEL man Paul DeBenedictis on drums. The band released a split EP with Quebec City's THE AWARD through on Milk And Cookies Records. Subsequently, Dutkiewicz acted as producer for ALL THAT REMAINS 2004 album 'This Darkened Heart'.

Mike D'Antonio would be operational on the club covers circuit in early 2004 as LATE NIGHT CRÜE, a MÖTLEY CRÜE tribute band also featuring vocalist Brian Fair of SHADOWS FALL, UNEARTH guitarists Ken Susi and Buzz McGrath and SEEMLESS drummer Derek Kerswill.

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE partnered with Thrash veterans ANTHRAX and Swedes SOILWORK for Australian and Japanese dates in April of 2004 as their third record 'The End of Heartache' was issued through Roadrunner Records. US Midwest shows in May had the band allied with IN FLAMES whilst the next road trek was set to be a month's duration co-headline tour in June of 2004 with label mates GOD FORBID, CHIMAIRA and SHADOWS FALL. All this activity came as a backdrop to the announcement that 'Alive Or Just Breathing' had just eclipsed the 100,000 sales barrier in the USA. Upon its release 'The End of Heartache' debuted at no. 40 in the UK and no. 39 in Australia. Quite spectacularly the record sold over 37,000 copies in its first week of sale in the USA, entering the Billboard charts at no. 21. Surreally, part of the album's promotion included a snippet of the track 'The Element Of One' in a TV 'Pop Tarts' commercial.

Touring in the latter half of the year had the band as direct support to SLAYER's US Jagermusic dates and headlining August gigs with FROM AUTUMN TO ASHES, EIGHTEEN VISIONS and 36 CRAZYFISTS. Hooking back up with SLAYER for another Jägermeister Music tour, alongside MASTODON, saw shows kicking off on the 29th October in Springfield, Missouri. In December the track 'The End Of Heartache' would be nominated in the 'Best Metal Performance' category for the 47th annual Grammy Awards. To mark this achievement, and a quarter of a million US sales for 'The End Of Heartache', Roadrunner Records issued a special edition of the record complete with a second bonus CD hosting three live tracks, music videos for 'Rose Of Sharyn' and 'The End Of Heartache' and previously unreleased cuts 'My Life For Yours' and 'Irreversal', the latter featuring original singer Jesse Leach and Phil Labonte of ALL THAT REMAINS on vocals.

Canadian gigs in January of 2005 had the band supporting SLIPKNOT. However, frontman Howard Jones was forced to sit out the band's performance in Toronto on 9th January after his voice went. Trevor Phipps from support act UNEARTH, as well as two fans plucked from the audience, plugged the gap. These US shows were followed up by a brief burst of UK headliners. The group then teamed up with THE USED and MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE for the 'Taste Of Chaos' US tour in February 2005. Mid way through this trek guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz was forced to sit out a few shows due to an ongoing, aggravated injury. Back with a full band roster, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE filmed their gig at the Palladium in Worcester, Massachusetts on 25th July with director Lex Halaby for the DVD release '(Set This) World Ablaze'. The track 'Irreversal' gave the band a good degree of extra exposure when it was included on the soundtrack to the Bruce Hunt directed movie 'The Cave', released in August.

Howard Jones also made time to see inclusion on the October released ROADRUNNER UNITED 25th anniversary album 'The All-Stars Sessions', contributing vocals to the MACHINE HEAD's Robert Flynn compiled 'The Dagger', while Mike D'Antonio laid down bass parts for the TRIVIUM's Matthew Heafy penned tracks 'In The Fire', 'I Don't Wanna Be (A Superhero)' and 'Blood And Flames', a song notable for vocal handling by none other than erstwhile KILLSWITCH ENGAGE frontman Jesse David Leach.

Dutkiewicz' recurring back problem would sideline him from Australian gigs in October, packaged with THE USED, STORY OF THE YEAR, FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND and RISE AGAINST, as the guitarist underwent corrective surgery.

On 15th December Howard Jones, Joel Stroetzel, Justin Foley, Mike D'Antonio and ex-member Jesse Leach notably joined the ROADRUNNER UNITED conglomerate at the New York Nokia Theater for an all star Metal evening.

The group recorded an exclusive cover version of DIO's 'Holy Diver for inclusion on UK magazine 'Kerrang!'s 25th anniversary issue cover mount CD, 'High Voltage', issued in May 2006. Issued the same month, the 'WWE : Wreckless Intent' compilation featured WWE wrestling themes showcased throughout the company's 'Smackdown!', 'Raw', 'Saturday Night's Main Event' and pay per view extraganza flagship formats, boasting the previously unreleased track 'This Fire Burns'.

KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, LAMB OF GOD and UNEARTH joined forces for an Australian tour in October. The band teamed up with SHADOWS FALL and BURY YOUR DEAD for a number of US dates in November. The album 'As Daylight Dies' sold just under 60,000 copies in the United States during its first week of release to debut at number 32 on the Billboard 200 chart.

January and February 2007 found KILLSWITCH ENGAGE touring Europe with support from THE HAUNTED. Unfortunately the band was forced to postpone the London, Bristol and Paris shows of their UK leg tour due to guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz sustaining a serious back injury. Remaining dates were fulfilled using former SOILWORK guitarist Pete Wichers.

The group further announced they were to partner with DRAGONFORCE, CHIMAIRA and HE IS LEGEND for the 'No Fear Music' 35 city North American tour commencing February 21st at the Atlantic City, New Jersey, House of Blues.

The 'Killswitch Engage' album, co-produced by Brendan O'Brien and Adam Dutkiewicz, was delivered through Roadrunner on 30th June 2009. The band spent the summer touring the USA as a main-stage attraction on the second annual 'Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem' touring festival with BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE, SLAYER and MARILYN MANSON.

Garry Sharpe-Young

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