Light The Torch’s name change from Devil You Know (which was due to legal issues) may have had fans worried that there would also be a drastic shift in sound. The band certainly have changed but rather than completely abandon their previous sound they’ve simply refined it, resulting in something both familiar and remarkedly different.
The most notable change is the increased focus on anthemic choruses and melody. Screamed vocals are used more sparingly and instrumentally revival prefers catchy hooks and beautiful leads to crushing heaviness or speed.
This increased focus on melody over heaviness gives vocalist Howard Jones more room to utilize his clean singing. This has resulted in some of the best vocal performances he’s ever done, which is no mean feet for a man who managed to cover ‘’Holy Diver’’ and make it his own. ‘’The Safety Of Disbelief’ and ‘’Calm Before The Storm’’ are particularly impressive but the quality is high throughout. The fantastic production (by Josh Gilbert of As I Lay Dying fame) helps immensely by giving Howard Jones the centre stage while not burying anything – there’s even audible bass!
There are still occasional moments of heaviness. ‘‘The Sound Of Violence’’ lives up to its name with nary a whisper of clean vocals and hardcore-esque guitar chugging. ‘’Virus’’ and ‘‘The Bitter End’’ also invest a fair amount of time battering eardrums in between their lighter sections, it’s simply that these moments are much rarer. Naysayers may accuse the band of purposely creating a more commercial album but to my ears it sounds like a natural evolution.
If I had one gripe with the album it’s that it can be little predictable and the lack variation or the chaotic heaviness from previous albums can make portions of the album blend together. I eventually put all the songs into a playlist with other works featuring Howard Jones (sorry music purists!) – I still enjoyed the songs but listening to the whole album in one go became a little tiresome due to many of the tracks following similar structures.
Revival sticks closely to the metalcore rule book, but the songs are well crafted and powerful. The band is fronted by one of the very best vocalists around and the instrumentation, while less heavy, is excellent throughout. Light The Torch has created an enjoyable set of songs with zero filler. Revival comes out on the 30th March and will be distributed by Nuclear Blast.