After a long and complicated process involving rights issues over the use of the name Devil You Know, following the departure of drummer John Sankey, [1] Howard Jones and company return under the moniker Light The Torch, armed with Revival. Not content with just a new name and drummer, Light The Torch decided to go with a new sound, too – in a way, a revival. While more melodic than Devil You Know, with plenty of great musicianship and heavy riffs, it fails to make the most of Howard Jones’ enviable talents.

We all know that Jones can croon along with the best of them, but it was always his expert mixing of clean and harsh vocals that won him millions of fans back in his Killswitch Engage days (and arguably his Blood Has Been Shed days too), in which his harsh vocals were given the limelight. Devil You Know upped the ante over Killswitch Engage, with generally heavier songs requisite with a little bit of industrial and even some death metal licks played alongside the more melodic anthems. Revival is heavy, but in a different way. Most tracks here contain powerful, clean riffs that will make the most of a good subwoofer, but they are played to anthems, rather than to the dirtier, heavier side of metalcore. Jones’ clean singing has never been better, but some may find themselves yearning for a greater use of his excellent harsh vocals.

Time and time again, a song here will feature a stonkingly heavy central riff, but not have the balls to go alongside it with Jones’ delightfully devilish screams and growls. “Lost in the Fire”, “The God I Deserve” and “The Bitter End” all fall under this category; none of them are bad songs, and all feature great riffs, powerful clean vocals and awesome breakdowns alike, but all feel lacking compared to how they might have been back with Devil You Know and Killswitch Engage. “The Sound of Violence” is the heaviest track on the record, and features exclusively Jones’ harsh vocals. It serves as a nice reminder of the band’s capabilities when they let their hair down and write something devastatingly brutal.

Simply put, Light the Torch don’t feature enough variation across Revival’s twelve tracks. The majority follow the same verse-chorus structure, but maintaining clean vocals generally, rather than metalcore’s traditional use of harsh verses followed by clean choruses, or vice versa. There are some great songs here such as “Die Alone”, “The Sound of Violence” and the atmospheric, dark “Lost in the Fire” which builds to an epic conclusion. Indeed, there’s a surprising amount of atmospherics and electronic sounds employed throughout Revival. It’s a nice touch and helps to differentiate the new sound from Howard Jones’ previous material. It’s just a shame though that this differentiation comes bundled with less of Jones’ enviable harsh vocal talents.

Revival is an entertaining record, with powerfully heavy riffs throughout played alongside the masterful croons of Howard Jones, but it’s missing something. This is a big, powerful record, with a rich mix, but lacking in harsh vocals. Jones has yet to match his prime Killswitch Engage years, but if Light The Torch were to follow up Revival with a heavier record, filled with a more even distribution of Jones’ awesome vocal talents, then they might just better the likes of As Daylight Dies and The End of Heartache.

Revival Track Listing:

01. Die Alone
02. The God I Deserve
03. Calm Before the Storm
04. Raise the Dead
05. The Safety of Disbelief
06. Virus
07. The Great Divide
08. The Bitter End
09. Lost in the Fire
10. The Sound of Violence
11. Pull My Heart Out
12. Judas Convention

Run Time: 43:15
Release Date: March 30, 2018

Check out the band’s video for their single “Die Alone” here.


Footnotes:
1. Link to the source article can be found here.