Killswitch Engage guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz and former vocalist Jesse Leach are reuniting for a brand new band, TIMES OF GRACE. Their stunning debut The Hymn of A Broken Man is set for release via Roadrunner Records on January 17.
The multi-talented Dutkiewicz plays all instruments on the record and contributes backing (occasional lead) vocals as well as handling all production duties. This is the first time the duo have recorded together since the 2002 KsE classic Alive Or Just Breathing album. Although the band and album are centred on a nucleus of Adam and Jesse, Times Of Grace will also have a touring lineup.
While fans will no doubt be thrilled at the unexpected reunion, Times Of Grace, however, are not interested in fashioning Alive Or Just Breathing, Part II. The Hymn of a Broken Man is an album of exorcism for both Adam D and Leach. Rich and diverse, it explores the depths of human misery, extolling strength through adversity. Leach's intense, spirit-filled delivery has never been stronger, backed by Dutkiewicz's trailblazing instrumentation.
Riding high on magazine front covers, a Grammy nomination, gold albums, and a position of prominence in the metal scene with Killswitch Engage, as well as a burgeoning career as an album producer, Dutkiewicz watched his world unravel when severe back problems sidelined him during a 2007 tour. "I thought my career as a performing artist was over," he says soberly of his emergency surgery in a London hospital, smack in the middle of a European tour. "If I can't walk on my own, I can't play."
Dutkiewicz started writing what would become the Times Of Grace album, in his head, from his hospital bed. During his long and often uncertain recovery, the riffs and lyrics kept coming. "I had a little tape recorder I would sing into once I got home. I didn't tour with Killswitch for quite some time. I would slowly get ideas down, just hum them or sing them, on that tape recorder." As a form of catharsis, he decided to create a record about the experience.
Adam and Jesse had remained friendly after Jesse's exit from Killswitch following the release of the landmark Alive or Just Breathing album, but that didn't stop the singer from being surprised when his old bandmate contacted him about making this album together. "I knew he had been in the hospital. I remember the phone call like it was yesterday," recalls Leach. "He said, 'Dude, I've pretty much got a record written. I'm really excited about it and I really want you to sing on it.'"
"One of the main themes with a lot of the stuff I was writing was about how easy it is to take life for granted and how easily you can lose everything you've worked for in a second," Adam explains. "It can be given to you and taken away at the snap of a finger. But I don't think I'm the best lyricist on my own, so the first person who came to mind for me was Jesse. We write together easily." In his own personal hell too, Jesse truly connected with Adam, lifting the songs to a new level.
The album begins with “Strength In Numbers”, melding layered vocal melodies with militaristic, thunderous drums, and the ferocious “Fight For Life” which drags a heavy bottom end into a soaring pre-chorus that could light a fire inside the darkest of hearts. “Willing” boasts a more contemplative yet just as feral vibe. There are moments of sheer beauty – the raw and elegant “Until The End Of Days” – and moments of true riffing majesty, as on the headbangin’ stompers “Live In Love” and “Hope Remains”. The album closes with the exquisite “Fall From Grace”, with Dutkiewicz on lead vocal duty.
Times Of Grace plan to present The Hymn of a Broken Man to the world in a variety of ways. The entire project emanates a specific vibe, a particular artistry, which Jesse in particular will work hard to preserve. "Adam has given me a lot of free reign to say what I want with [the visuals and image]," he says.
What comes across with overwhelming passion in Times Of Grace is the sense that there is hope in any personal situation, no matter how dark. "The cool thing with these songs is that they are about negative situations, but there's always a positive twist on it, talking about how you have the power to turn it around yourself," Adam says. "There's always a light at the end of the tunnel," Jesse agrees. "There's always hope."