Light the Torch:
Ooo… this is a tough one to review.
It’s really good. There you go.
No, seriously though, speaking in terms of musical technicality and competency this album is fantastic. And how could it not be, featuring as it does talent from such heavyweights of the industry as Machine Head and Killswitch Engage? It is the first album from this band under its current name, not to be confused with the song, Light the Torch, by Soilwork which coincidentally shares some similarities and is also really good. Light the Torch were previously known as Devil You Know for a period of five years, during which they released one-and-a-bit albums that unfortunately I can’t seem to find on Spotify and therefore will not be referencing. The name change is apparently due to intellectual property reasons after a former member left the band.
In terms of style and aesthetic I am most notably reminded of Killswitch Engage, and to a lesser degree other metalcore-ish bands such as Fire from the Gods (themselves a bit Killswitch-y). This would obviously be a result of Howard Jones’ powerful vocals really being the defining factor of the band’s sound for me. I personally think a singer is much less interchangeable than a guitarist, bassist, or drummer in most circumstances as a truly great vocalist has more potential to really make a band’s sound unique compared to others in the same genre – and I say that as a guitarist by trade.
I was pleasantly surprised by the lightness, even funkiness of a lot of the guitar/bass riffs, combined of course with much chunkier and heavier parts elsewhere, particularly in the songs, The Safety of Disbelief and Virus. I was reminded particularly of Gojira’s string-work, especially in Lost in the Fire. This is overall an extremely tight and controlled album with no messy or unravelling patches that I could detect. When it wants to be head-banging and heavy it is, when it wants to ride on the wings of epic, soaring vocals it does, and when it wants to ramp up the excitement with a slight melodious break for a calmer interlude or a tasteful guitar solo it executes this perfectly. A few songs such as The Great Divide and Judas Convention provide tidally swaying, slightly more down-beat experiences to nod along to, while fast-paced bangers such as Die Alone, Calm Before the Storm, and Bitter End melt faces effortlessly with intense and technically impressive progressions that never drop in their sheer energy and excitement.
The two music videos I could find (for Die Alone and The Safety of Disbelief) were fairly low-effort in my opinion – just the band members playing and some flashy graphics, not that I’m saying they need to be anything more than that. Other than this, there’s not much more for me to say. I’m giving Revival a slightly lower score than the last metal album I reviewed, since in my humble opinion a more complex, themed, and energetic project like Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex requires more vision, skill and co-ordination to pull off and therefore deserve a higher score, even though both albums achieve their stated goals excellently. This is a terrific album which achieves its goals with utter style and competency and is enjoyable all the way through. I look forward to hearing much more from these artists.
Thanks for reading, and I’m giving this album a contextual score of 7.5/10.
Written – May 2020
Published – May 2020