It’s been a decade since Times of Grace bestowed the alternate sides of Killswitch Engage members Adam Dutkiewicz and Jesse Leach. The 2011 release of The Hymn of a Broken Man was an album that impacted so many people positively, with its highly emotive character and experimentation.
Fans were thrilled to see a video posted to social media by Leach and Dutkiewicz recently to announce the next chapter of Times of Grace and have shared a couple of singles for us ahead of the big release of Songs of Loss and Separation coming out on July 16 (our review here). The Killswitch boys (with Dan Gluszak on drums) have taken an even more emotive approach this time around, and Dutkiewicz, colloquially known as Adam D, shed some light on the upcoming album.
On the duration between records, Adam doesn’t omit that Times of Grace is not always front of mind. “It’s a labour of love, and it’s the side project to our main gig which we’re so busy with; but we do have to spend time on it when we have time, so yeah it’s been a little while.”
With the boys not living in the same city as one another, Covid also got in the way of efficient production. “We live like 3,000 miles apart from each other,” 4,828 kilometres for Aussies. “Luckily we recorded most of the vocals before all of that hit, so it was just up to me to finish up all the bits and pieces.”
With cognisance to the ten year duration since the band’s last LP, Adam assures there is no coincidence and he wasn’t quite sure when the exact anniversary was anyway. “We’ve just been chipping away at the idea of this record for quite some time and once Covid hit, I had so much time on my hands.”
So far, the band’s shared ‘The Burden of Belief’, ‘Medusa’ and ‘Rescue’ from Songs of Loss and Separation and fans are getting an idea of what the next chapter’s going to sound like. In terms of fanfare, Adam insists that he remains removed from all of that. “To be honest, I don’t really pay attention to things online, I’m not an online present person,” not to mention creating this record as a creative outlet more than a fan-driven output.
“Obviously we make music for people to enjoy, but we’re just sharing some bad stuff that has happened in our lives, and writing songs for the sake of the sake of making it and being able to share it with people.”
Ultimately, the guitarist-come-clean-vocalist wants fans to identify with the music, but it may feel like less pressure to deliver that he would with Killswitch Engage.
When household metal names grow and evolve, so does their sound, and that can always be contentious with fans. However, when a side-project is birthed with two correlated band members, that sense of risk should be arguably eliminated. “Times of Grace is more of a platform to be able to create whatever I want, it was a lot of fun to be able to step out of the musical expectations there are for Killswitch.”
It also helps Adam take a step outside of the heavy music world and show another side of himself. “Obviously I don’t listen to all metal all the time so to be able to create other stylistic things and dip in out of that double bass and thrash, it’s rewarding.”
The Times of Grace guitarist and bassist has been really embracing the experimental aspect he’s had, partly with the role he’s played on vocals for the new album, as compared to both the previous album, but also Killswitch Engage material more generally. “I’m singing a boatload on this record, so being able to play with different sonics and bring the vibe way down is great.”
The 2010 record definitely had a greater crossover to that of the Killswitch sound, and the upcoming album is not quite the same.
“Back then, I was still writing music that was more so in the same style as Killswitch. There were moments that felt like an escape from the band, but for the most part that record still had a lot of metal moments going on, for sure.”
The Californian laughs as he manages fans’ expectations by confirming that “it doesn’t sound like Killswitch Engage.” He shares more around the mellow moments that fans will here on the new Times of Grace album, “it’s just it’s different, it’s darker and it goes into quieter and more reflective parts I suppose.”
Anyone who’s seen either band live or on YouTube, or even in other interviews will know that Adam is a bit of a jokester and definitely leans into a more easy-going silly persona – a highly lovable one at that. It makes it quite strange or foreign to see the raw side of the musician through the new record, and makes you appreciate the vulnerability.
“It’s scary to feel vulnerable, to share so much of myself and for Jesse to share so much of himself on a record. But, at the same time, it feels good to release this kind of music.”
Some may say that letting the guard now is probably more observational with Adam than Jesse, who uses Killswitch as an outlet. “I know Jesse as the primary lyrical writer has shared a lot of personal things in past Killswitch songs, so it’s maybe more [vulnerable] for me this time. I haven’t shared my voice, let alone my lyrics in 10 years.
It’s set to be a cathartic release for the metalers, who are also busy ramping up touring, continuing from where they left off last year before a sudden halt. Killswitch Engage will be embarking on a US tour with Slipknot now that touring is back on the cards in late 2021.
“And then after that, I’ve been just saying it’s important to us to honour the tickets from the tour that was postponed due to Covid as it all erupted, two days into our Atonement US tour.”
Before the tour was rapidly pulled, the band had Light the Torch on tour with them, with ex-vocalist of Killswitch Howard Jones who featured on the band’s 2019 single ‘The Signal Fire’ which satisfied fans, new and old. The musicians have obviously remained close and look forward to continuing the tour.
Acknowledging Light the Torch’s brand new album You Will Be the Death of Me, Adam shakes his head (at Covid) and says “they’ll have a whole different setlist,” than what they would have a year ago “when they open for us on the Killswitch tour”.
“I think Howard’s still got an incredible voice, all those guys are super talented. They are like a machine, man and they sound great.”
Well, whether you’re a fan of old or new Killswitch Engage, Light the Torch or even former years as Devil You Know, you should look out for Times of Grace’s next musical step with Songs of Loss and Separation.
Interview by Ricky Aarons (@rickysaul90)
Pre-order Songs of Loss and Separation here.
Times of Grace – Songs of Loss And Separation tracklisting
1. The Burden Of Belief
2. Mend You
4. Far From Heavenless
5. Bleed Me
8. To Carry The Weight