Light The Torch — Revival
Featuring ex-Killswitch Engage singer Howard Jones, Light The Torch is a renamed metal project formerly known as Devil You Know. After releasing two well-received albums under their previous moniker, the group opted for a name-change due to copyright concerns after the departure of founding drummer John Sankey. Despite the brand new name, Light The Torch continues in the same metalcore vein on Revival without missing a beat.
Howard Jones' voice is in fine form, with Revival placing a heavy emphasis on clean vocals in both the verses and choruses. Light The Torch's take on the metalcore sound leans much heavierin the alt-rock direction than the aforementioned Killswitch Engage with their more thrash-based riffs. Considering the rest of Jones's body of work, Revival is a lot softer and more melodic than past efforts. There are still a lot of powerful screams and aggressive passages, but nothing approaching the outright fury of Jones's work in Blood Has Been Shed or Killswitch Engage. The dialed-back aggression works in the context of this project, but those expecting a complete rehash of those past works will be sorely disappointed.
Every track on Revival is polished and cuts right to the chase; there's little wasted time throughout the whole record. That being said, a lot of the material blends together and many of these tracks lack a big, huge commanding hook to really standout among the dozen cuts that comprise the album. "Virus," "The Sound Of Violence" and the closer, "Judas Convention" were the tracks that really stood out to me, though nothing came off as notably bad or offputting. Revival is a well written, expertly produced collection of material. This is a very competent record, but nothing truly exceptional — it's good but not great.
while I enjoyed Revival a fair bit, there was nothing on that stuck with me. I've got plenty of crunchy, loud music with heavily produced clean vocals and downtuned guitars. As well crafted as this record is, it's a lesser version of so many other albums I already own. I'm glad Howard Jones is still making music; Revival was an enjoyable listen, and perhaps worth a look if you're not a grizzled veteran of the metalcore genre such as myself. I hate to keep mentioning Killswitch Engage in this review, but this album was a strong reminder of just how good those guys are at writing vocal and instrumental hooks.
My main issue with Revival is that it doesn't seem to know what it wants to be, a metalcore record or commercially friendly alt-metal. There are moments where the vocals get really nasty and vicious, and the instrumentation dials in a nice, speedy groove, giving a variety in pacing and tone, but they are too few in number. Because the vocals spend most of the time alternating between a mid-tempo croon punctuated with the odd scream, the tracks begin to blur together as the the vocal tension never really gets resolved. Ultimately, that's the story of this album: a few moments where everything clicks and transcends what is a competent but otherwise very rote alt-metal record.
Light The Torch serve up a dozen tracks of well executed metalcore, but fail to differentiate themselves from their peers. For those with a penchant for big, crunchy guitars and reverb-heavy, multi-tracked vocals alternating between emotive croon and anguished wretch, Revival will sate your hunger. Howard Jones, a personal favourite of mine, is still in fine form. While I certainly prefer his older work, it's still good to hear him doing his thing. Revival is a serviceable release, even if it's not blazing any new trails across the metal landscape.
Release date: March 30th, 2018
Record label: Nuclear Blast Records
Howard Jones — vocals
Francesco Artusato — guitar
Ryan Wombacher — bass, backing vocals
Mike Sciulara — drums, percussion
- Die Alone
- The God I Deserve
- Calm Before The Storm
- Raise The Dead
- The Safety Of Disbelief
- The Great Divide
- Bitter End
- Lost In The Fire
- The Sound Of Violence
- Pull My Heart Out
- Judas Convention
Published: July 22nd, 2018.