Light The Torch may have been formed from the ashes of Devil You Know, but after one spin of Revival, it’s immediately clear that Howard Jones and co. aren’t simply re-hashing the work of their former outfit. And while this record has been born from pain – the death of Jones’ oldest brother, the turmoil that ended Devil You Know as a band (and brand) – Light The Torch seem to have taken those experiences and created something positive. Life affirming, even.
First up though – anyone who was expecting the raging, thrashy metalcore of DYK (or even a return to Killswitch Engage turf) will be disappointed by Revival. It’s an album rooted In heavy groove, not lightning fretwork, a place where dramatic melodies and passionate, gutsy choruses take centre stage. That’s not to say Jones’ bandmates – guitarist Francesco Artusato and bassist Ryan Wombacher, plus Extinction A.D. drummer Mike Sciulara – don’t pack a hefty punch, with The Sound Of Violence in particular nodding to Artusato and Wombacher’s work in All Shall Perish and Bleeding Through.
But Revival’s focus, in the main, is on tight, focused songwriting – an approach that allows Jones to deliver one of the performances of career. Few contemporary metal singers are in the same league as the man from Ohio and he has little to prove. Yet on the likes of The Great Divide and The Safety Of Disbelief, his voice soars into the stratosphere, as if he has been relieved of a great burden. The frontman is an incredible talent… and the metal scene needs him, that’s for sure.
Could Revival have benefited from a handful of sharper riffs? Probably. And that could have placated those of Jones’ fans who wanted a re-run of The Beauty Of Destruction. Yet Light The Torch are forging a new path – and it’s a pretty damn exciting one.