KILLSWITCH ENGAGE guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz to helm Unearth’s next studio album, tentatively due in early 2011 via Metal Blade Records. The pre-production phase of the process officially started last week.

As previously reported, UNEARTH has recruited drummer Branden Morgan of MISERY SIGNALS to sit behind the kit for the band’s upcoming European dates as part of the Persistence Tour. The group says, “Branden is a great drummer and has been nailing all the tunes in rehearsal. Everyone headed to the Persistence Tour can expect UNEARTH to be as solid as ever during this run.”

The Persistence Tour — which also features SICK OF IT ALL, D.R.I., BLOOD FOR BLOOD, EVERGREEN TERRACE, CRUEL HAND, CASEY JONES and VERA CRUZ — will kick off on December 3 in Deinze, Belgium.

UNEARTH recently parted ways with drummer Derek Kerswill due to “creative differences.” The band stated at the time, “The differences between Kerswill and the band started off as subtle, but became increasingly obvious over the past few months and it was time for both parties to go their separate ways.”

The deluxe version of UNEARTH’s latest album, “The March”, was released in November 2009. The CD comes with a bonus DVD containing a tour documentary entitled “The Three Day March”, featuring footage shot by acclaimed director Doug Spangenberg (LAMB OF GOD, EVERY TIME I DIE, JOB FOR A COWBOY) during UNEARTH’s recent tour of the northeastern U.S. The DVD also features footage from inside the studio during the band’s recording sessions for “The March” as well as party footage from the group’s tour with TESTAMENT, entitled “Gig Life”. In addition to the candid behind-the-scenes material, live footage of four songs are included from the Wacken Open Air festival in 2008. Rounding out the DVD are the three music videos shot for “The March” — “My Will Be Done”, “Grave Of Opportunity” and “Crow Killer”.