rushonrock understands moves are afoot for Jesse Leach to make a sensational return as Killswitch Engage frontman – almost a decade after he parted company with the US metallers.

Earlier today the band confirmed that Howard Jones had left the band – just days after bass player Mike D’Antonio had revealed Killswitch was about to start work on their follow-up to 2009’s self-titled album. He told Facebook friends: “Even Howard is coming. Time to write a record!” 

It is not known whether D’Antonio’s off the cuff remark sparked tension but in an official statement released today the band said: “To our family, friends and fans: we have decided to continue on without Howard Jones as the singer of Killswitch Engage.

“We love Howard and are thankful for the nine years that we’ve had him in the band. Out of respect for everyone involved we will not be discussing the specific reasons behind this decision.

“Howard is a part of our family and always will be and we wish him well. He has left big shoes to fill so we certainly have our work cut out for us to find the next singer of Killswitch, something we plan on making priority number one going forward.

“Most importantly, thanks to all of you for all the support throughout the years and for sticking by us for all this time. We really do appreciate it and we very much look forward to having a new record for all of you in the not too distant future that we can all be proud of. Sincerely, Adam, Joel, Mike & Justin.”

Leach has already been installed as the frontrunner to replace Jones and return to the band he first joined in 1999. The singer, who has battled depression for a number of years, sang on 2000’s self-titled debut and the classic 2002 album Alive Or Just Breathing.

Last year Leach worked with former Killswitch buddy Adam Dutkiewicz for the first time since their split and the duo released the critically acclaimed Times Of Grace album Hymn Of A Broken Man.

That collaboration sparked rumours of a return to the band’s classic line-up and in an exclusive interview with rushonrock Leach said: “I’ve got to say it was different [working with Adam this time]. But in a good way. Years ago when we recorded together it was a totally different time in our lives.

“We’ve both grown together over the years and I’m very much in touch with Adam as a person now. I wasn’t confident enough as a person back then and I suppose I hadn’t lived enough. Adam helped me get a new perspective on life.

“With the TOG record I came in with a lot of solid ideas and energy. Our friendship also reached a totally different level – we were having different conversations and hanging out over a few beers.

“The record is who we are and who we were when we came together in the studio again. I feel we really stretched ourselves.”

Watch this space for news on Jones’ replacement soon!

Read the full interview with leach here: