The Empire Shall Fall: Heavy Metal for Jazz Lovers?
For his new band, the Empire Shall Fall, former Killswitch Engage frontman Jesse Leach (you know, the dude who screamed and growled his way through that band’s landmark LP, ‘Alive or Just Breathing’) first decided to work with a bunch of dudes who had no metal experience whatsoever: jazz session musicians.
“This band started from scratch,” Leach tells Noisecreep. “My buddy [bassist] Nick [Sollecito] met this guitarist who was insane, but he was 17 years old. He sent me some files of this kid, and it immediately struck me that this kid was well beyond his years with metal knowledge. I could hear some old school death metal influence … some Meshuggah in his playing.”
That guitarist, Jake Davenport, used an eight-string guitar, and Leach thought his playing was incredible. “I wanted to get a project together and see if this kid was interested. Long story short, I ended up handpicking a bunch of jazz musicians to form a metal band with.”
Since the band’s inception, they’ve since switched drummers (losing Alex Chapman and replacing him with Jeff Pitts), and they’ve added a guitarist named Marcus de Lisle. The band is self-releasing their debut album this November, which the band made using its own money.
“There’s definitely a mix of prog with straight-up hardcore, and I’m trying to bring more of an early Mike Patton influence to the vocals … singing in dissonant notes, singing in minor chords and keys, and adding some of the bluesy Seemless influence,” says Leach. “We’re just compressing a bunch of different styles into our sound, and people are really digging it. “
Leach says he’s also working on a solo album that will “surprise a lot of people, because not even a small part of it is metal. Its basically a mixture of dub, reggae, punk rock and trip hop. It’s just out there. It’s like if the Clash were to breed with Portishead.”