Seemless frontman Jesse Leach has no regrets.
When he walked out on his Killswitch Engage comrades back in 2002, he knew it was time. His vocal cords were barely functional and he couldn't stand life on the road when he couldn't bring his wife along with him. Plus, his relationship with the rest of the Killswitch dudes had become frayed, and the band was teetering on the brink of total collapse. So, he did what he had to do — he hopped off the Killswitch train, just as it started to pull out of Obscurity Station.
But rock was still in his system. So, while he'd cashed in his metal chips, he hadn't given up on music altogether.
"This is where I belong — this is where I feel good," said Leach, when asked if he laments the decision to leave Killswitch for his current band, straight-ahead rockers Seemless. "Mentally and spiritually, I am in the right place. I wouldn't change a damn thing. I was miserable and had just really lost my passion for singing that kind of music. I didn't feel it anymore. This band's just much easier on my soul. After doing metal for close to 10 years, I felt like it was just getting old for me. I felt like I had done all I could do. I look at [Killswitch's 2002 LP] Alive or Just Breathing, and that was sort of my farewell to that style of music. I felt like I left my mark with that album, and that was it — it was time to move on. After that album, I was ready to just stop and 'be a normal guy and have a normal life.' But I love music so much, I couldn't escape it."
Leach — who is on good terms with his Killswitch pals — said when he first heard Seemless (at the time they had a different lead singer), he recognized that the band respected rock's roots and honored its past, while injecting a modern heaviness into the mix. And that has no doubt helped Seemless win over thousands of metalheads. "It had the stuff I was raised on," he recalled. "It just seemed like a natural progression to regress back to my roots."
But the Chris Cornell-emulating Leach said the band's self-titled 2004 debut was more like a demo. At the time of the recordings, the band was still just getting warmed up. In fact, most of the tracks were recorded before he even joined the band, which also features ex-members of Shadows Fall, Overcast and Medium. Leach said the follow-up, What Have We Become, "feels like it's our first proper album. We jell now, as a unit. We're like brothers at this point. In every aspect, this feels like our first album." It hits stores on Tuesday and features "In My Blood," "Jaded," "Parody" and the first single, "Cast No Shadow." The band recently shot a video for the latter cut, DIY-style, with director Ramon Boutviseth (Sanctity, Daylight Dies).
Seemless — who're on the road with Nonpoint through Tuesday and are set to hit the road with Trivium and the Sword in October — "wouldn't change a single thing on this record," Leach added. He said the band recorded the material in about a week, even writing several of the tracks while in the studio. "I can listen to it, from start to finish, and have no problem with it. We believe in it so much. It's just a more focused album, and we had a real strong sense of who we are as a band going into this album."
And for Leach, much of the album's lyrical content was born out of his frustration with rock's money-grubbing, narcissistic ways. "It's about my disgust with the state of music and the state of the industry," he said. "And all of the rock star crap too."
But it's obvious that Seemless — who plan to stay on the road for the remainder of the year and for much of 2007 — have found a solid comfort zone and have progressed past the initial growing pains. In fact, he said, even with the release of their second LP just days away, Seemless have started working on material for album number three.
"We write songs within hours in this band," he said. "It's never a struggle for us. It just flies right out. We're already working on our next album. We have a bunch of tracks for it, and the new stuff we're working on is even more diverse than the record we're putting out next week. I am having fun for the first time in my life, with a project that works on all levels. It's great."
Still, Leach does wish Seemless could be a bit more profitable — which means he'd appreciate it if you picked up the band's latest disc on Tuesday.
"We're not looking for the fame and the fortune," he said, adding that he's working two jobs just to make ends meet, as he's facing the prospect of car repossession. "I won't lie — I have bills to pay and I would love to make some more money. But if we can just get by, we'll continue to do this band. I just want to survive off of it. There's a real blue-collar mentality to this band."
The rest of the week's metal news:
Sepultura founders Max and Igor Cavalera have been involved in an intense feud since Max's stepson Dana died in a car accident in 1996; Max left the band soon after and formed Soulfly. But on August 17, at a Soulfly show in Tempe, Arizona, in tribute to Dana, the Cavaleras took the stage together for the first time in 10 years. Igor stepped behind the drums toward the end of the set to play an instrumental jam and remained onstage for performances of the Sepultura songs "Roots Bloody Roots" and "Attitude." Even if the reunion eventually triggers the rebirth of the original Sepultura, for now Max is continuing to support Soulfly's 2005 album, Dark Ages, with a new U.S. tour that begins September 18 in San Diego and runs through October 6 in Atlanta. ... In October, McFarlane Toys will release an exclusive 3-D sculpture of the cover of Metallica's seminal 1986 LP, Master of Puppets. The sculpture will be approximately 7 by 7 inches and will be made from PVC. A sculpture of the Jimi Hendrix Experience's Are You Experienced? will follow in November. On Monday, McFarlane released a 3-D cover of the Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols. Additional titles will be announced in the coming months. ...
Belphegor drummer Nefastus, who replaced Torturer in early 2005, has left the band. Nefastus made the decision following the completion of the group's sixth album, Pestapokalypse VI, which will be released on Halloween. Players who wish to fill the vacant slot can contact Belphegor@aon.at, but they must have stage and touring experience, be able to rehearse in Austria, be able to play with a click track and be interested in black and death metal. Before announcing Nefastus' departure, the band shot two new videos for "Bluhtsturm Erotika" and "Belphegor - Hell's Ambassador" between August 8 and 11 with director Florian W. The former features a blood-covered naked succubus named Dani, and the latter includes shots of gnarly musicians, ghostly apparitions and lots of fog. ... Swedish grindcore outfit Regurgitate have announced an October 17 release date for their next album, Sickening Bliss. The disc was recorded at BackBone studios by RGTE and Patrik Jonsson and engineered by drummer Jocke Pettersson and Jonsson in April and May. Marking a return to the nauseating lyrics of the band's early days, the album features 26 tracks, including "Upheaval of Human Entrails," "Excremental Ingestment," "Battered With a Brick" and "Euphoric State of Butchery." ...
Glenn Danzig will release Black Aria II on October 17. The sequel to his 1993 classical album, Black Aria, features organ, strings, percussion, chiming, chanting and operatic vocals. Produced and written by Danzig, the record tells the story of Lilith, Adam's wife before Eve, and includes "Dance of the Succubi," "Bridal Ceremony of the Lilitu," "Unclean Sephira" and "The Succubus Feeds." Says Danzig: "The first Black Aria is very Wagnerian, and also has these violent, Scottish/ Celtic qualities. This one is more Eastern, because it's about Lilith. It still has a lot of the classic elements I like, but many of the sounds come from elsewhere because of this fascinating story, which has its origins in even older myths and legends." ...
Fear Factory, Hypocrisy, Suffocation and Decapitated will launch the Machines at War Tour on October 26 in San Francisco. Dates run through November 9 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The only band on the bill with an upcoming album is Suffocation, who will release their self-titled album on September 19. ... Teutonic power-metal warriors Blind Guardian have announced the dates for their North American winter tour. The shows will begin November 8 in Tempe, Arizona, and will run through December 11 in Austin, Texas. Blind Guardian's A Twist in the Myth will be released September 5. ... Youthful thrash-metal flag-wavers Trivium will launch a North American tour with equally young power-metal torchbearers Cellador starting October 1 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Dates run through October 9 in Toronto. Doom-metal heroes the Sword and schizophrenic metallers Protest the Hero will also be on the bill. Trivium's triumphant third record, The Crusade, comes out October 10.