Vocalist Howard Jones has left Killswitch Engage. It’s a move that is both surprising and unsurprising. In 2010, Jones infamously sat out a tour for personal reasons with the band enlisting All That Remains’ Phil Labonte and ex-singer Jesse Leach for the shows. However, he since triumphantly returned with some festival dates in summer 2010 and all seemed well, with the band beginning work on a new album just in recent weeks. It would appear those personal issues are still with Jones according to this brief statement released by the band:
“To our family, friends and fans: We have decided to continue on without Howard Jones as the singer of Killswitch Engage. 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. He has left big shoes to fill, so we certainly have our work cut out for us to find the next singer of Killswitch, something we plan on making priority #1 going forward. Most importantly, thanks to all of you for all the support throughout the years and for sticking by us for all this time. We really do appreciate it and we very much look forward to having a new record for all of you in the not too distant future that we can all be proud of.”
This is rather unfortunate news. It’s no secret that I adore Killswitch Engage and have since I was about 13 years old, even up until their most recent output. For me, Howard Jones was, and is, one of the best voices in modern metal and certainly the best vocalist to emerge from the whole American metalcore thing. Of course rumours will abound that Jesse Leach may return but at the moment, the whole thing is up in the air.