Today, August 16th, Killswitch Engage finally dropped their highly anticipated new album, Atonement, the follow-up to 2016's Incarnate. Ahead of the big release, the pioneering metalcore group offered up two singles, "Unleashed" and "I Am Broken Too," but the song that most fans have been really dying to hear is "The Signal Fire," which features both current singer Jesse Leach and former vocalist Howard Jones in a era-crossing duet.
For those of you still catching up on your Killswitch history, Leach was the band's original singer before he split with the band just after the release of their game-changing album Alive or Just Breathing; Jones stepped in and fronted the group for a decade during which they rose to fame; then he split and Leach returned. Were things weird between the two singers? Yes, a little, as Leach and guitarist-producer Adam Dutkiewicz admitted when we talked them earlier this summer, but most of that was actually in Leach's head.
"Jesse was intimidated by filling his shoes," Dutkiewicz explained. "And I think there was just this mental hangup and awkwardness between Jesse and Howard because of that. But one day I was like, 'Fucking watch this. We're all going to hang out in a room together and see what happens.' And then Jesse was like, 'Wait a minute, Howard is, like, the coolest guy in the world. Never mind.'"
But when they finally met up and spent real time together, in February 2018, the two were fast friends. "He was super relatable," Leach said. "You're not this thing — because we didn't know each other. All I'm getting is stories and what the media portrays. And it was like, this weird little thing going on between us, but there was nothing going on between us."
Leach ended up writing lyrics for the duet and even titled the song, which was recorded in April, as a nod to Jones' current band, Light the Torch. Blast "The Signal Fire" above.