It seems like, for me, these days it is very difficult to find a new album that makes me want to listen to it on repeat over and over again. The last record that made me feel like that was last year’s “Material Control” by Glassjaw. That’s not to say that new music being put out isn’t any good at all. That’s far from the truth. I discover new music all the time and I will go back and give another listen to a lot of that stuff in due time. However, there are those records that every once in awhile just find their way in heavy rotation for me. The new release from Light The Torch, “Revival”, has become one of those rare records for me.
For those not familiar, Light The Torch is the band that was formerly known as Devil You Know. The band went through a name change due to a legal issue with their former drummer. The band features former Killswitch Engage and Blood Has Been Shed front man Howard Jones, former All Shall Perish guitarist Francesco Artusato, former Bleeding Through bassist Ryan Wombacher, and Extinction A.D. drummer Mike Sciulara.
The band has put out two previous records under their former name, Devil You Know, titled “The Beauty of Destruction” and “They Bleed Red.” Both of those records were solid and “The Beauty of Destruction” even earned the band a Metal Hammer Golden Gods Award for Best New Band in 2014. However, I feel as though “Revival” is on a whole new level.
For me, the first thing that really stood out on “Revival” is the change in vocal direction. Howard chooses to go predominately with clean vocals. He does mix in some of his metal screams but these are more the minority. It’s a good change. In fact, it might actually be the best change. I have long maintained that Howard has one of the best, if not the best, voices in metal. His clean vocals are incredibly soulful and feel deeply emotional. The vocals on “Revival” are no exception. In addition to Howard’s clean vocals, the band contributes backing vocals that take me back a bit to 80’s metal bands. It’s a dynamic that works to great success on songs like “Die Alone”, “The God I Deserve”, and “Raise the Dead.”
Musically, the band has changed up their sound as well. It kind of has a bit of a nu-metal vibe to it, almost like Sevendust. The record is chock full of hooks that will keep you coming back for more. The more melodic sound gives plenty of space for Howard to work in his fantastic clean vocals. Francesco gives us some tasty guitar solos on a few of the songs that remind us of just how talented a guitarist he is. Specifically, I love the solos in “The God I Deserve” and “Raise The Dead.” Don’t be deterred by the changes in sound though. While the band certainly has taken a melodic step forward, they can still be heavy as fuck. Songs like “The Bitter End”, “Lost in the Fire”, and “The Sound of Violence” are sure to keep the metal head in you happy.
Some are sure to say that they feel like the band changed just for the sake of making a more “commercial” record. I have to disagree. I feel like this is a logical evolution. I’ve heard an interview or two with Howard where he has mentioned his love of 80’s Christian metal acts like Stryper. He also has mentioned that he was trained as a singer in church choir. He wanted to try a different direction with his vocals and make an old school heavy metal record. A true “Revival” indeed.
4.5 out of 5 stars
Check out the opening track “Die Alone” below:
You can stream the album at:
If you love the record as much as I do then toss these guys a few bucks and pick up the record at one of the links below or stop by your favorite record store: