Light The Torch, formerly Devil You Know, are back to a formative state. Through a change in the rhythm section and a rebranding, they’ve realized a greater opportunity is lying before them to reach a bigger audience. They certainly have all the proper tools as listeners will hear on the appropriately titled ‘Revival’ album: A singer that can reach the stars in the form of metalcore legend Howard Jones, a guitarist that can shred and slam in Francesco Artusato, a proficient bassist that doesn’t just fill in space thanks to Ryan Wombach and a fresh new name that knows how to hit a drum kit, Mike Scilura.
The concoction, in summary, is a marked attempt to write inspired anthems born of struggle. And for the most part, the first half of ‘Revival’ is quite an easy, fun listen that hits its targets dead-on. The luscious vocal harmonies and head-bobbing guitar chugs get the album started in proper form with “Die Alone” and it’s clear why this doubled as the lead single for the record. Even with just one guitarist, its the more rhythmic approach that shows Francesco is adept at making his playing stand out. An earth-shaking but simple riff drives “The God That I Deserve” alongside soulful vocal crooning in an almost Sevendust-esque fashion. The atmospheric textures really help the towering vocal delivery to pop and stick with the listener. As “Calm Before The Storm” ups the energy, it’s the guitar that purposely subdues itself to being the role of a runway for the vocals, calculated to only be loud when it accents the delivery.
As listeners will immediately discover, this is the direction for Light The Torch on ‘Revival’: Everything is built around the vocals and a simplified approach. While this makes sense, it does hold a group of supremely talented individuals with a great history in playing diverse styles of metal to one type of arrangement and the goal to hit the radio airwaves and play for arena crowds is a transparent endeavor. However, in songs like “Raise The Dead” and “The Bitter End”, the cliché messages and streamlined songwriting are actually shrouded in the signature magic that the individual musicians are actually known for creating. Light The Torch’s strengths lie in brilliant and memorable vocal melodies as to be expected from Howard’s pipes as well as some truly excellent alternative metal-style riffs. When the band lock into a groove as heard in a song like “The God That I Deserve”, there’s some real potency in the end product.
Unfortunately, the album and its strengths are shown to their fullest strictly in its first half. As the second half rolls around, the same mid-tempo, vocally-centric sequence of attempts at being anthemic grow tiresome. With more variety, ‘Revival’ could be better as an album. Even with a slight throwback to the group’s heavier days as Devil You Know with “The Sound of Violence” being driven entirely by brutal screams and crushing rhythms, variety arrives too late and the record fizzles out in its finale rather than leaving legitimate impact. ‘Revival‘ will almost certainly make a few waves on rock radio, but any fan of its creators will know they are capable of greater things.