Literally in the first week of 2012, Killswitch Engage announced that they had parted ways with singer Howard Jones. Considering that the group had already been confirmed for the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival and had started work on a new album, Jones departure certainly caught many people off guard. It didn’t take long, though, for rumors to circulate that Jones’ predecessor Jesse Leach would be returning to the group. As it turns out, though, the rumors turned out to be true. And at the New England Metal & Hardcore Festival in April, Killswitch Engage made their glorious return with Leach back onstage. The group spent the rest of 2012 touring and putting the finishing touches on a new album. While 2013 looks extremely promising for them, 2012 helped Leach and Killswitch Engage reclaim their place in the metal scene.
Actually, Roadrunner’s restructuring isn’t that shocking. Warner Music signed an agreement to purchase the majority of the label all the way back in 2006, and acquired the rest of the label in 2010. However, the axe fell this year in a series of cuts. Back in April, the label closed all of its foreign offices, and founder Cees Wessels stepped aside. Then they lost Monte Conner, an A&R head that gave the label a decent amount of its identity. Last month, President Jonas Nachsin left the label, along with longtime publicist/journalist Amy Sciarretto, among others. And then Warner named Mike Easterlin, also running Fueled By Ramen, as GM. All of this adds up to a year of drastic change for the label. Megadeth and DevilDriver are no longer on the label, and with Machine Head’s contract up, it’ll be interesting to see if they re-sign with the label. Yet it’s not all doom and gloom. Dream Theater re-signed with them, and they picked up Rush and Gojira. They’ve got big albums out next year from Killswitch Engage and Trivium, among others. And we’re hearing rumors that they might have made a pretty huge signing that’ll be announced early next year. So all in all, while 2012 saw a lot of changes internally, the new year looks pretty promising for the label.