Label: Nuclear Blast
Release Date: 30/03/2018
Following his departure from Killswitch Engage in 2012, it’s been a triumph of sorts to see vocalist Howard Jones on such a solid wave of momentum with new(ish) band Devil You Know. In July 2017 however, legal complications forced the band into changing their name. And with that, Light The Torch was born.
First and foremost, it’s worth noting what an outstanding team Light The Torch have assembled for new record Revival. Joined by founding guitarist Francesco Artusato (formerly of All Shall Perish) and Ryan Wombacher (Bleeding Through) on bass, they’ve also recruited Extinction A.D’s Mike Sciulara for drumming duties.
If you thought the name change would stunt their growth, opening track ‘Die Alone’ is an absolute monster of a statement to prove you wrong. With a booming chorus that’ll snag you from first listen, it’s been perfectly crafted to cement itself on rock radio playlists for years to come. ‘The God I Deserve’ follows, lead by down-tuned Djent riffs, it’s much heavier in comparison to how the record opens. Early variation is a huge positive, and the first four songs on Revival are absolute anthems.
As the record rolls on, it’s wonderfully obvious that Light The Torch are finally establishing their own identify as an outfit detached from their former/other bands. The quality and craftsmanship oozes on Revival, as you’d expect from four musicians so experienced. Admittedly though, I did begin to lose my footing in places. It becomes noticeable how some formulas feel duplicated, resulting in songs failing to stick as well as they should.
Furthermore, the key identifier with Jones is that back and forth between his lung bursting screams and lullaby cleans. There’s a slight imbalance here, choosing to sing more to a commercial effect then shout, as you’ll hear on ‘The Bitter End’. ‘Lost In The Fire’ is a telling sign that Jones still has this in his locker, but I’d love a bit more aggression in parts.
What props up the lighter vocal delivery is Artusato’s guitar work. While his flashy solos and intricacy feels surprisingly absent on Revival, he instead holds the reins much tighter in the riff department to compensate. The sudden drops in ‘Virus’ and ‘The Sound Of Violence’ really rattle your head with the volume turned to max.
Special mention to bassist Ryan Wombacher too. While his bass work is prominent but never overbearing, it’s those additional vocals that blow me away. How many backing vocalists within the genre can go toe to toe with Howard Jones and pull it off so well?
To conclude, Revival assembles its foundations on razor-sharp metalcore and anthemic rock, and while those commercial rock moments do sporadically feel off-putting, it could well be a risk that pays off for them going forward. What prevents me from being completely won over is the repetition of ideas in parts, but they’ve still managed to formulate a sound made for much bigger audiences. Revival opens like a fucking airstrike, and for that, it’s well worth your time.
Revival is out now and available to order via Nuclear Blast
Recommended Tracks: Die Alone, Calm Before The Storm, The Great Divide