Killswitch Divorce

I started today off a little bit heartbroken.

Just a smidgen. Not the waking-up-hours-after-a-break-up type.

The band-you-love-most-in-the-world-said-farewell-to-its-lead-singer type.

Killswitch Engage, a Boston, Mass., based metalcore band has parted ways with its lead singer, Howard Jones, after seven years, according to an article on the Roadrunner Records website.

A statement from the band read thusly: “We love Howard and are thankful for the nine years that we’ve had him in the band. Out of respect for everyone involved we will not be discussing the specific reasons behind this decision. Howard is a part of our family and always will be, and we wish him well.”

I guess I should have been prepared for such a sad announcement. In early 2010 the band announced Jones would be sitting out the rest of their tour.

They released this statement at the time: “It became overwhelmingly obvious to all of us around Howard that he is in no condition to be on tour right now and that he needed to get off the road and get himself better. It’s a personal matter and while we understand everyone’s curiosity and concern for Howard and the band, we appreciate everyone respecting Howard’s privacy at this time.”

Then, two years later, he’s left completely. Fans like me are only left to speculate why and spend the day quite sad.

Now don’t misunderstand, my love for this group is not on par with the Justin Bieber superfans of the world. None of my cellphone’s ringtones are Killswitch songs. I don’t have a montage of posters and magazine cutouts in my home. There isn’t a Killswitch mural lyrical selections pasted in diorama-style splendor in my home office.

Mostly cuz my wife wouldn’t let me.

But I am a fan. I have a few shirts, all their albums. I have a documentary on their founding called “Set This World Ablaze,” which, incidentally, would make a great tattoo phrase for the Joker. For the last six years or so, my response to the favorite band question has been “Killswitch Engage.”

We were acquainted during my short stint in a hardcore band back in 2005. They stuck out from the slew of others I started listening to. Yes, like all other hardcore/metal/screamo acts, they were loud. Many might have thought of their sound as obnoxious. There’s screaming, guitar screeches that sound like they’re emanating from a horde of digital wild boars and savage drumming. They belong on a Ultimate Fighting Championship soundtrack.

A high school friend once labeled their stylings as “I-wanna-die music.”

Still, they stood out for me. It’s a band that’s had its fair share of obstacles to overcome on its way up. Before Howard, the band’s original lead singer Jesse Leach also left the band. Recently, lead guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz had to get surgery on his back.

Then there was their lyrical content. It’s some pretty incredible stuff, filled with positivity and encouragement, though those messages may not be entirely evident because of their delivery methodology.

My wife and I saw them in Medford a number of years ago at the building that now houses Kids Unlimited. We probably lost 12 pounds between us because of how much we sweat that night, but it was a blast. Howard waved at us, too. We still get close to swooning when we talk about it.

I hope in a few years this incident will be something Killswitch-ites can look back on and sigh with relief, either because of a new lead singer that was able to fill Jones’ shoes, or because he himself returned.

Until then, be well, Howard. You’ll be missed.

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    Ryan Pfeil

    This is a blog for southern Oregonians to check in on all things geek. Sci-fi, history, comics, movies, video/photo and anything else that would have gotten you shut in a locker in high school. Have fun. Read Full
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