Review by Greg Maki
Light the Torch is a new name, but its latest release, “Revival,” isn’t quite a debut. The band formerly known as Devil You Know released two albums—”The Beauty of Destruction” (2014) and “They Bleed Red” (2015)—before legal issues with a former drummer resulted in the name change. Given the turmoil of recent years and the new moniker, it’s not hard to see the meaning behind the “Revival” album title.
So how much of a new beginning is it? Well, with a lineup featuring vocalist Howard Jones (ex-Killswitch Engage), guitarist Francesco Artusato (ex-All Shall Perish) and bassist Ryan Wombacker (Bleeding Through), along with new drummer Mike “Scuzz” Sciulara (Extinction A.D.), there probably always will be more than a hint of metalcore in the band’s sound. But on most of “Revival’s” 12 songs, it takes a backseat to more rock-oriented rhythms and riffs. The two tracks readily available online prior to the album’s release—”Die Alone” and “Calm Before the Storm”—offer a good indication of where the album as a whole is heading. On many of the songs, I hear a Sevendust-like chug leading to the soaring choruses, most prominently on “Raise the Dead,” probably my early favorite.
The biggest change is the almost exclusive use of clean, melodic vocals. Though fans of the subgenre in which the members of Light the Torch cut their teeth might lament the loss of the harsher side, it does pop up occasionally, and its more sparing use makes it more effective when it rears its head (see “The Sound of Violence”). But let’s talk about those clean vocals. Obviously, we’ve known for some time that Jones has quite a set of pipes on him, and it’s the dominant force throughout “Revival.” High in the mix, his big, big voice is at the forefront of every song, and his smooth tones have never been so expressive and powerful.
While the road to “Revival” was rocky and not the ideal path for the band members, it has led to an excellent album with one foot in metal and the other in hard rock, placing Jones firmly in the upper echelon of vocalists in either genre.
(Nuclear Blast, March 30, 2018)