Confirming an earlier report, Killswitch Engage have replaced recently departed singer Howard Jones by turning to a familiar face (and voice): original vocalist Jesse Leach.

The news, first broken a couple of days ago on the band’s website with a post consisting simply of a new photo of Leach with his old bandmates, was confirmed today (Feb. 8) with a press release revealing that Leach auditioned for his former job “and pretty much blew everybody away and then some.”

“After much deliberation and careful consideration, we are pleased to announce that Jesse Leach has rejoined Killswitch Engage. Our job was to find the best person to fill Howard’s shoes: a decision based on talent and not familiarity,” reads a quote from the band. “Truth be told, Jesse blew us away in auditions. The room seemed charged with electricity. He commanded both new and old material, and proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he wanted to do this. The choice became very clear and apparent.”

Leach himself states “It is a great honor to rejoin my brothers after all of these years. After some discussion and much reflection, it was obvious to me this was the path I was meant to take. We got together and jammed on the ‘Howard-era songs,’ as well as some ‘Alive or Just Breathing’-era songs and we all felt the synergy.

“I look forward to writing the new record, since the demos sound absolutely amazing, as well as breathing new life and getting comfortable with the soulful songs Howard has written,” added Leach. “It is a new chapter of my life filled with new and exciting challenges. I will give all that I can to honor the position I have been given and take nothing for granted. I will sing every note with all of my soul. I am very blessed and very thankful to be back in the KsE family! All things happen in their due time and now is the time for this reunion and new direction.”

“This change is very exciting. We know you’re going to love it,” promised the band. “This is truly a new era in KsE history and it is ready to shred your face off. So, please help us in welcoming Jesse back into the KsE family; he is a rare and great talent, a fact that older KsE fans have known for years. Here is to a killer new record and a bright future. The five of us cannot wait to write this record and play shows together and bring that feeling to our fans. It’s been far too long.”

The new/old lineup of Killswitch Engage will perform April 22 at the New England Metal and Hardcore Fest.

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