Killswitch Engage: Seasons in the Abyss
Drummers and singers came and went, as drummers and singers are wont to do. But Jones and Foley settled into place in time for Killswitch Engage’s The End of Heartache album, the title track of which was nominated for a Best Metal Performance Grammy in 2005.
Things were looking up for Killswitch Engage, but the band’s career was hobbled from 2006 to 2007 when Dutkiewicz underwent a series of surgeries for a painful back condition. He missed some tour dates and even wondered if he’d be able to continue as a full-fledged band member, but he’s since made what Stroetzel calls “an amazing recovery. Thankfully Adam has been holding up well and taking good care of himself. With any luck he won’t have to go through that again.”
When Guitar World caught up with Adam and Joel, they were finishing up mastering the new Killswitch Engage album and preparing to embark on a round of touring that will see them blazing through America as part of this year’s Mayhem tour with Marilyn Manson, Bullet for My Valentine, Cannibal Corpse, Trivium and, yes, Slayer.
GUITAR WORLD The dynamic between you two seems to be that Adam is the wild and crazy one and Joel is the solid, stable, sensible one. Does that perception match reality?
JOEL STROETZEL Ha! That might vary from evening to evening, depending on how much I’ve had to drink. But what you’ve said is what people seem to think.
ADAM DUTKIEWICZ I’m surprised. Is that what people think? Is that what you think?
GW Well, I don’t know what I think. That’s why I’m asking. Is it true?
DUTKIEWICZ Sure...I guess so. If that’s what people think, then let ’em think it.
GW Were there any antics down in Atlanta while you were working on the album?
STROETZEL We had some fun—a lot of after-session beers. We went out every night to eat wings and drink beer. Brendan O’Brien and all the guys at Southern Tracks [Studio] were a really great bunch. They kept things very low-stress.
GW How did Brendan get involved as co-producer of this album?
DUTKIEWICZ He actually contacted us to say he was very much interested and liked what we did and wanted to help out. We never had an outside producer help us before and this guy’s got a pretty classy track record. So we said, “Okay, we might as well give it a shot.”
GW Was this before or after he produced Mastodon?
STROETZEL Just after, I think. I’m not sure if the Mastodon album was quite finished when we started talking to him. But we started working with him just after that album was finished.
GW So what did you want to achieve with this album that you hadn’t achieved on any previous Killswitch Engage disc?
DUTKIEWICZ Uh...not to suck. That’s pretty much it. Just to write some decent guitar riffs and songs.
STROETZEL We wanted a different-sounding production and different-sounding songs. We were trying to stay away from “chugging on the low strings” kind of riffs. We tried to do stuff in different keys.
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