Adam Dutkiewicz and Jesse Leach need no introduction to anyone plugged into the metalcore scene but for those maybe less familiar, these two are the guitar and vocal anchors of the mighty Killswitch Engage (though Leach had a temporary absence from the band). This year they have returned with side project, Times of Grace to finally release their second album.
First coming together in 2011 nearly a decade after Leach’s exit from Killswitch Engage and born out of Dutkiewicz’s lengthy recovery from complicated and dangerous back surgery, the duo delivered The Hymn Of A Broken Man with the multi-instrumentalist and superbly talented Dutkiewicz serving up music perfectly suited for Leach to tackle in a softer, more shoegaze/ambient style than seen in KSE. Now ten years later the pair are back with Songs Of Loss And Separation due out this week (July 15th) via Wicked Good Records.
ex-Envy On The Coast drummer Dan Gluszak who has previously toured with the project lends his talents to this record as a now full-time member of the band, combining with Dutkiewicz’s guitar signature sound. However, the axeman also takes on a good chunk of vocal duties, allowing Leach space to experiment with different ranges. Comparisons will be made to KSE but this album certainly has its own identity front and centre from the outset. There are heavy moments similar to KSE but these are perfectly combined with stunning soundscapes of ambience, goosebump-inducing harmonies, vocals and just all-around, damn good songwriting.
Leach’s ability to write some of the most beautiful and relatable lyrics is on full display here just as in any of his work, you have to ask what this pair of metalcore titans can’t do when they come together? ‘Far From Heavenless’ deserves a shout out for being both heavy yet impossibly soft, Cult of Luna vibes are certainly present but taken to another level entirely.
‘Bleed Me’ that follows is a sombre journey that can hit differently depending on your mood, on that note, this album deals with the darkest of feelings we all experience, “Making this album was a way to get out some twisted stuff that’s been going on in our lives,” explains Dutkiewicz, “The record is not very optimistic. If you’re looking for that uplifting album to pull you out of something, this isn’t it.” Leach added. “I love melancholic music. It tends to be therapeutic for a lot of people, myself included. It’s odd and almost kind of spooky that we both had to go through a dark time to create another record. It’s like this project can’t form unless hardships are going on in our lives.” – So that should give you an idea of the feel of this record. Don’t be discouraged though, through its darkness shines real beauty.
‘Currents’ delivers brutally heavy, chugging guitar riffs and some tried and tested metalcore tropes on a superb track and ‘To Carry The Weight’ is, in a word… breathtaking. Overall this record is a journey, it’s cathartic, heartbreaking and incredibly charged with emotion like so few other records out there today, Dutkiewicz and Leach are not afraid to bare all and it’s that raw and unfiltered energy that makes this album a true revelation.