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Times Of Grace Bring The Metal To Dirt Fest

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Many are still unfamiliar with the band Times of Grace, but almost everyone knows the band’s predecessor; Killswitch Engage. The hard rock/metal outfit features Jessie Leach and Adam D. of Killswitch and they recently added bassist Matt Bachand of Shadows Fall to the roster. Get more on the band and a listen to their music here.

Guitarist, drummer, producer, songwriter and backing vocalist Duktiewicz’s unexpected reunion with his original Killswitch Engage vocalist surpasses even the weightiest of aspirations for such a monumental collaboration, delivering where most “reunions” or “projects” fail, with confidence. Where many heavy bands pay lip-service to difficult circumstances to establish credibility, Times Of Grace was truly born from the hearts and minds of two men who thought they had lost it all.

Riding high on the magazine covers, a Grammy nomination, gold albums and position of prominence in the American metal scene with Killswitch Engage, as well as a burgeoning career as an album producer, Dutkiewicz watched his world unravel when severe back problems sidelined him during a 2007 tour.

“I thought my career as a performing artist was over,” he says soberly of his emergency surgery in a London hospital, smack in the middle of a European tour. “If I can’t walk on my own, I can’t play.”

Dutkiewicz started writing what would become the Times Of Grace album, in his head, from his hospital bed. During his long and often uncertain recovery, the riffs and lyrics kept coming.

Adam and Jesse had remained friendly, even after Jesse’s exit from Killswitch following the release of the landmark Alive or Just Breathing album, but that didn’t stop the singer from being surprised when his old bandmate contacted him about making this album together. “I knew he had been in the hospital. I remember the phone call like it was yesterday,” recalls Leach. “He said, ‘Dude, I’ve pretty much got a record written. I’m really excited about it and I really want you to sing on it.’”

The pair had long talked about exploring their love of bands like Radiohead and Travis together. But this? “It reminded me of a black metal record!” Leach says of the first three songs Adam sent him. “There were some blast beats and quick guitar riffing, which I ended up singing melodically over.”

“One of the main themes with a lot of the stuff I was writing was about how easy it is to take life for granted and how easily you can lose everything you’ve worked for in a second,” Adam explains. “It can be given to you and taken away at the snap of a finger. But I don’t think I’m the best lyricist on my own, so the first person who came to mind for me was Jesse. We write together easily.”

Times Of Grace plans to present The Hymn of a Broken Man to the world in a variety of ways, like on stage with a full band, but also, in some non-traditional fashions as well. The entire project emanates a specific vibe, a particular artistry, which Jesse in particular will work hard to preserve. “Adam has given me a lot of free reign to say what I want with [the visuals and image],” he says.

What comes across through the music, the lyrics and the overall vibe with overwhelming passion in Times Of Grace is the sense that hope is possible in any personal situation, no matter how dark.

“The cool thing with these songs is that they are about negative situations, but there’s always a positive twist on it, talking about how you have the power to turn it around yourself,” Adam says.

“There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel,” Jesse agrees. “There’s always hope.”

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