Fans of Massachusetts metacore legends Killswitch Engage were in for a big surprise during their concert at the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom in New Hampshire on June 9th. For this special performance, the band were joined onstage by both Anthrax frontman Joey Belladonna as well as former Killswitch Engage vocalist Howard Jones.
During Killswitch Engage’s 2017 co-headline tour with Anthrax, Belladonna would regularly join the band onstage for a cover of the Dio classic “Holy Diver”, a role he reprised at the June 9th gig.
At the same show, Jones shared vocal duties with current frontman Jesse Leach for a stirring rendition of “The Signal Fire,” a song from Killswitch Engage’s 2019 album Atonement. Even though Jones has performed with the band occasionally in the years since his departure, this was the first time Killswitch has been joined by two guests at the same concert.
When Leech left Killswitch Engage in 2002 due to a battle with depression, Jones took over as lead vocalist for several albums. Leach returned to the band in 2012 after Jones’ dismissal.
When speaking about “The Signal Fire” at the time of the music video’s release, Leach said he wrote the song’s lyrics “with Howard in mind and our connection through our similar mental illnesses.” He continued: “I mean, now that I’ve hung with this guy a few times, it’s ‘crazy’ (pun intended) how similar we are. We are brothers in metal, anxiety, hardcore music, love of medicinal marijuana and fighting depression.
“We may be very different-sounding voices, but, in truth, we are similar in many ways in our minds,” he added.
Leach then went on to say the lyrics are “about keeping hope in dark times and helping out those in need,” and said that he planned “on using this song to help continue to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention. Both Howard and I have a very strong outspoken stance on the subject and I will use this to help with the cause.”