Album Review: LIGHT THE TORCH Reignites A Familiar Sound With “Revival”

Earlier this year (yes I’m behind on reviews) it was announced that Howard Jones had gotten back together with the guys of Devil You Know but it wasn’t just for a new album. Somewhere during the process things changed and we now have Light The Torch with their debut album that leaves you feeling more like you’ve heard it before from another band Jones has been a member of, you might’ve heard of that band…Killswitch Engage.

Back when the album was first teased, I like many, jumped when we heard “Calm Before The Storm”. The single brought Jones back into the world of rock and metal strong. Sounding as great as ever. But it left a Killswitch Engage vibe in my head.

For any band that’s redefining itself that has a member from a very successful band in the world of rock and metal it only makes sense for the lead single to be familiar with those fans to bring them over. It’s almost necessary when, like in the case of Light The Torch, when it’s the singer. But once I dug into Revival I found myself confused.

After watching an interview Howard Jones had recently with Bloodlines where he states the name change came during the writing phases when they were listening to demos and bouncing ideas off each other I was even more confused. Why? Because the entire first half of Revival sounds like a Killswitch Engage album.

Don’t get me wrong, “Die Alone” and “Raise The Dead” are strong tracks. There’s some heavy grooves and great harmonies. But it’s everything I’ve heard and grown to like about the Howard Jones albums of Killswitch Engage.

It’s not until “The Bitter End” that the album shows a mixture of Devil You Know and Killswitch Engage. The bass becomes the focal point making it darker but keeps the heavy grooves. Jones gets aggressive more vocally than singing clean, though his clean vocals are amungst the best in the industry.

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But then there’s something haunting about the albums closing song “Judas Convention” because we all known someone whose turned on us but we continued on stronger without them. It’s his aggressive vocals here that emphasize the strength and power that we must all use to continue on in our lives after we’ve been turned on by someone we once trusted.

Revival is two albums in one. It’s definitely half Light The Torch but the other half, the first half, comes off as Killswitch Engage demos that just never came to be.

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