HEAVY METAL | Killswitch were engaged and metal fans lapped it up

Sydney metal fans congregated at the Enmore Theatre earlier this month to witness US metal act Killswitch Engage perform tracks from their album Alive or Just Breathing to mark it’s 15th anniversary.

Original fans would remember frontman Jesse Leach played a huge part in Alive or Just Breathing. He helped write and record the vocals. For personal reasons he stepped aside and a new front man was hired.

Fans truly loved Jesse and his vocals, so when he left it was really devastating for many. Howard Jones went on to perform and help co-write new material for years after. I was a massive fan of Howard’s ability to sing those soulful and melodic tones – flick a switch and the screaming would start.

Some of my favourite songs were sung by Howard originally. We got to hear them again at the Enmore and let me say they’re still my favourites.

Jesse nailed his original hits on Alive; songs like My Last Serenade, which has amazing melodies, and Fixation on the Darkness where Jesse’s ability to switch from melodic to screaming was completely on point. He’s found his way in that department, and it’s no easy task to master.

Guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz rose to the occasion, with great presence on stage. He wielded his guitar on stage like our favourite Norse god wields a hammer. He was truly worthy – here, there, and everywhere plus helping on backup vocals.

Bassist Mike d’Antonio was as solid as usual – power stances, head and body thrusting around like a crazy five-year-old’s tantrum. Alongside him was Joel Stroetzel who used his fingers and guitar strings to truly make his guitar talk.

It wouldn't have been a Killswitch gig without vulgar humour, thanks to Adam. But let’s not go there – what happens at the Enmore, stays at the Enmore.

Finally, up back on drums was the rhythmic genius Justin Foley who played all the rhythm and bass kicks to perfection.

As a fan of Killswitch Engage I always find them fun to watch. You can tell the guys love playing to a live audience. They interact with the fans, reaching out and high-fiving the audience. The bandmates joke with each other on stage, clearly enjoying themselves as much as the fans. Adam screamed ‘We’re all having a fun time tonight!’ and we all were. They threw out water bottles to make sure the punters stayed hydrated. When Jesse climbed down off the stage to lean over the barrier he was instantly swamped by fans. 

To sum up: they delivered on all parts.

Also it would not have been a Killswitch gig without some vulgar humour along the way. We can thank Adam in a large way for delivering that quite skilfully, with a segue into the next song Temple from Within. But let’s not go there. What happens at the Enmore, stays at the Enmore.


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