Killswitch Engage Discuss the Nu-Metal Genre


Promo image of metalcore band Killswitch Engage.

Killswitch Engage – Story by Anne Erickson, courtesy photo

When Killswitch Engage emerged in the early 2000s, they were pretty much the antithesis of nu-metal. So, how do they feel about the genre now?

Massachusetts’ Killswitch Engage are rarely referred to as nu-metal. More often, their music is called metal-core, bringing together the heaviest of hardcore with the melodic characteristics of metal. But, Killswitch did emerge on the metal scene in the early 2000s, right when nu-metal was at its peak, so they’re very familiar with the rap-rock genre.

In a new Metal Hammer feature which has Employed to Serve’s Justine Jones interviewing the band, Killswitch Engage discussed the nu-metal lebal. Jones mentioned the genre while remembering a promotional piece from their label for “Alive or Just Breathing,” where the band’s music was presented with a casket filled with all nu metal fashion of that era.

When Hones asked the band if they were on a mission to “kill nu-metal,” guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz explaimed, “We weren’t out to kill anything; it was just a piece of shameless promotion from our label. It was funny I guess.”

Vocalist Jesse Leach added, “Yeah, I mean, I get it, you want a hook to get people excited about a new band, and we were definitely doing something different from what was going on at that time, but… that kind of bravado is not our style.”

So, does that mean Killswich Engage were actually fans of nu-metal? Definitely not. When elaborating further about their thoughts, Adam D. said, “I dislike anything where the guitar player has six strings but they only use one.”

Leach added that he wasn’t a fan of nu-metal but has found things about it that he likes about it as time as passed. “I can take or leave some of it, but I really love Deftones, what they were doing was incredible,” Leach said. “You can’t deny some of the riffs of Korn, but some of that [nu metal] stuff was a little goofy. I definitely hated on it at the time, but in retrospect I actually prefer it to some stuff I hear now. It was a commercial sound, and we were into the underground, so it was a little hokey.”

Switching gears to metal-core, Adam D. said the band is surprised that it’s enjoyed so much success over the years. “I had a day job and I thought, ‘Ah f*** it, I guess I’ll give this a shot for a year, it probably won’t work out, but I’ll feel bad if I don’t give it a shot.’ And here we are,” Adam D said.

Leach continued, “It still blows my mind that I get to do this for a living. I remember seeing Slipknot on late-night TV and hearing them on the radio and thinking it was the first time I’d ever heard screaming in that environment. It felt like the tides had changed, it was incredible, but if you had ever told me I was going to be part of that I’d have laughed in your face.”

Anne Erickson
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Posted by Anne Erickson | Metal, Music, Rock News

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