“It is by far the most difficult album I’ve ever worked on”: Killswitch Engage’s Jesse Leach gives update on long-awaited ninth record

Jesse Leach
(Image credit: Press)

Killswitch Engage singer Jesse Leach has spoken about the status and emotional toll of the band’s upcoming ninth album in a new Instagram post.

The vocalist, 45, wrote on social media today (January 16) that the metalcore leaders’ first release since 2019’s Atonement “is by far the most difficult album I’ve ever worked on for various reasons”.

He also stated that he “see[s] the distant light at the end of this long tunnel”.

Leach added that he’s taken a new approach to the album’s lyrics, that he’s “crafted some songs to feel more like a story, which I believe makes the material more interesting”. He also describes the lyrics as, as always, “deeply personal and for the most part difficult to write”.

Leach’s post, which also features video of woodland in western Massachusetts, reads in full: “I will say this.

“The newest @killswitchengage album we are working on has taken its toll on me this past year. It is by far the most difficult album I’ve ever worked on for various reasons.

“That being said as I see the distant light at the end of this long tunnel. I can truly say it has all been a much needed growing experience.

“When I say that I mean it personally, lyrically and vocally.

“I’ve been able to take any criticism from my dudes and separate it from my being to push through and rise to the occasion.

“This has been a work in progress as everything I write is always deeply personal and for the most part difficult to write. It’s always hard to let go of my work. I’m very pleased I’ve learned to separate my emotions from the work. It’s been liberating!

“I’ve also been able to stretch the limits of my voice mixing techniques and hues of sound (still working on this as a full time student of the voice via @zenofscreaming).

“Lastly, lyrically I’ve crafted some songs to feel more like a story, which I believe makes the material more interesting.

“Adam [Dutkiewicz, guitars] has helped a great deal as usual being a great producer and a good friend throughout. He’s talked me off the cliff and made me laugh when I need it.

“It can’t be overstated how crucial he is (even when I can get thrown sideways at times). He always sees the bigger picture and pushes me to my limit for better or worse. The outcome however is always far better than I imagined.

“That’s enough out of me for now. I’m also learning to keep work and posting about it to a minimum. As they say less is more so I’ll say less.

“To wrap this post up on my days off I am completely silent and I go out alone to explore and move as it is a great contrast to hollering in the closed up studio.

“This is footage from my last day off I drove an hour west deep in western Massachusetts (a truly beautiful area, and no I don’t and never have lived in MA). I then drove my 4x4 truck down into a valley to hike a trail I knew no humans would be on.

“It was quiet save the over flowing river. I didn’t see a single human all day. Here’s some footage. Thanks to everyone for the support over the years! All hails! 🤘🏼”

Dutkiewicz spoke to Kerrang! in August about the impending Killswitch album, stating that he believes it will be released in 2024.

“Jesse Leach has been working out some lyric ideas and demos for the last few days, actually,” the guitarist said. “We’ve got a lot of songs kind of rolling around right now. I'm thinking about getting back into the studio after this tour and getting to work, and I'm hoping we'd like to have the record done by the end of the year. But it might take a bit longer than that, so I would assume new music next year, for sure.”

Killswitch have already announced several shows for 2024, including a run of South American festival dates in April and a tour supporting Iron Maiden in Australia in September. Dates are below and tickets are now available.

Killswitch Engage 2024 tour dates

APR 18–19: The Metal Fest Ecuador 2024, Quito, Ecuador
APR 20: The Metal Fest Chile 2024, Santiago, Chile
APR 26: Tork n' Roll, Curitiba, Brazil
APR 26–28, 2024: Summer Breeze 2024, São Paulo, Brazil

SEP 1: Perth Arena, Perth, Australia
SEP 4: Adelaide Entertainment Centre, Hindmarsh, Australia
SEP 6: Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia
SEP 10: Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, Australia
SEP 12: Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney, Australia
SEP 16: Spark Arena, Auckland, New Zealand

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.