KILLSWITCH ENGAGE singer Jesse Leach recently spoke to Forbes about the vocal surgery and therapy he underwent during the recording process of the band's latest album, "Atonement".
"It was a total blessing in disguise," he said. "Singing on a broken instrument for so long and not realizing it, I didn't know what the end result was going to be, but it was a very humbling experience. That and just having to be quite for the better part of two months and not speaking at all, it really just put into perspective how precious it is. We as human beings abuse it and use it for terrible things, so for me I was very determined when I came out on the other side of this to make it count. Part of that was making sure I take care of it, and getting proper training, and learning how to speak. I actually speak differently because of it too, so it goes all the way down to every single aspect of your voice. When I wake up in the morning, I do a vocal warm-up, I make sure I'm in key with where I'm supposed to be; what I've learned from my coach Melissa Cross. It changed everything, and my state of mind too. I took it very serious. In the past, I would get vocal lessons here and there and just kind of roll with it, but it never hit me as hard thinking this could be the end of my career. I took it a lot more serious, and because of that the techniques clicked better, and I totally owe Melissa Cross and the doctors that did the surgery. My career was saved because of them, and I think the performance on the record shows that."
In a separate interview with Music Feeds, Leach said that he went through a "full-on depression" after he found out about the severity of the problem. "I spiralled into a very dark place," he said. "But at the same time, being quiet and not being able to use my voice for the better part of two months was very monastic and meditative. And realizing the gift that we do have as humans with our voice and what we do with it. We can either waste it and be fickle with it and use it for negative things, for hatred, and to knock people down, or we can speak of goals and dreams and positivity and love.
"When you can't speak, the body and the brain pushes out other senses and my sense of hearing and the feeling of the vibe of people in the social environment was heightened," he continued. "So as much as I got depressed and had a hard time with it, I look back on that as a very big learning experience for me as a human being."
"Atonement" was released on August 16 via Metal Blade Records in the U.S. and Sony Music Entertainment in the rest of the world. The disc features guest appearances by KILLSWITCH ENGAGE's former lead singer Howard Jones and TESTAMENT frontman Chuck Billy. It marks the band's third full-length release since the return of Leach, who rejoined the group in 2012.