Killswitch Engage have just confirmed via their Facebook and official website that vocalist Howard Jones has departed from the band. Howard Jones had replaced original vocalist Jesse Leach back in 2002 and remains the band’s longest standing vocalist.

The band issued the following statement on their website a couple of hours back:

Although the bands’ first two records with Jesse Leach were successful and thrust the band to the forefront of the metalcore scene in the States, it was with their first album with Howard Jones, 2004’s “The End of Heartache,” that the band made their commercial breakthrough, with the title song being nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Metal Performance” category . “The End of Heartache” along with its follow-up, 2006’s “As Daylight Dies,” were both certified Gold in the US.

While Howard’s departure would be a painful blow for the legions of Killswitch Engage fans across the globe, let us all look at the brighter side – at least the rest of the guys are still together. This move also paves the way for original vocalist Jesse Leach to rejoin the band, something that I have been personally looking forward to for a long time now. The guys have been on good terms with Jesse ever since his departure. Killswitch Engage mainman Adam D. collaborated with Jesse Leach to create Times of Grace and released their debut record only last year. So, Jesse Leach is, undoubtedly, the #1 contender to regain his job. My second guess would be Phil Labonte from All That Remains. Both Phil & Jesse filled-in for Howard as the vocalists for the band during their tour last year after Howard Jones suffered a back injury.