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Slipknot

Leather, Spikes, & Satan?

Posted on February 12, 2008

A piece from the Winnipeg SunKillswitch Engage By Rob Williams Monday, 8 p.m., West End Cultural Centre There was a time when heavy metal bands were all about leather, spikes and Satan. Not anymore. Oh sure, there are still plenty of groups thrashing out and singing about warlocks, Greek mythology and demons, but these days there’s a new breed of beast on the scene: emo-metal bands like Killswitch Engage. “I feel a lot of bands don’t know if they’re happy, sad or what — they just go out and put on the metal face,” says KE bassist Mike D’Antonio. “We don’t go out and pretend to be pissed off or mad — we smile on stage and have fun. “Our lyrics are swayed towards the positive side, and lots of metal bands are like, ‘I hate my life, I hate myself,’ and put on the airs. We’re breaking that mode. I take pride in that.” The Massachusetts quintet never considered themselves an emo band until they were given the tag in reviews in the New York Times and Rolling Stone. Instead of distancing themselves from it, as many punk bands do, they went with it. “It’s kind of cool because we’ve never thought of ourselves at all like that,” D’Antonio, 31, says. Their new album, The End of Heartache, is a roller-coaster ride of personal stories written by vocalist Howard Jones and touching on issues of relationships, dead friends and the struggle for self-improvement. The band’s sound and lyrics have touched a nerve with metal-buying youth. Since the album was released in May, it has sold more than 100,000 copies, and the band have been selling out shows wherever they play. Their profile will get an even bigger push in the next couple of weeks, when the title track of their new album is released as the first single from the movie Resident Evil: Apocalypse. “It’s been really crazy. I’m expecting to wake up from this dream any minute. I’m a kid used to playing CFW halls and basement shows and the whole hardcore thing, so I want to say to my parents, ‘See! look!’ ” D’Antonio laughs.

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