Light the Torch
You Will Be the Death of Me


3.1
good

Review

by Robert Garland STAFF
June 26th, 2021 | 32 replies


Release Date: 06/23/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Death lives on.

If you can forgive a moment of nostalgia; I can vaguely remember when Howard Jones announced his departure from Killswitch Engage sometime after the band’s second self-titled release. It was a weird time for me musically, having invested so much of my musical upbringing in albums like The End Of Heartache and As Daylight Dies. Still, I figured Howard would pop up somewhere, laying down some seriously competent screams and lush, soaring choruses in an act that suited both his health and mindset. It took the best part of a decade from the releases mentioned above before we saw Mr. Jones’ newest musical export alongside other well-known figures in metal and under their new moniker, Devil You Know I was pleased, if not completely blown away. Typically, Light The Torch isn’t Killswitch Engage, nor is it so far detached that the usual metalcore descriptors don’t apply. You see, other than The Beauty Of Destruction’s (before the name change from Devil You Know) soaring choruses or abrasive verse building blocks, there wasn’t anything really innovating on what Jones and Co. would normally offer moving away from their respective bands, regardless of the band’s “supergroup” status. At the time it could be said that I was simply expecting too much, after all if it’s not broken, why fix it? Moving on to more recent times and disregarding the usual cutaway about name changes and roster modifications, Light The Torch more-or-less continues on where both Devil You Know and Light The Torch brands collide.

These days I still look forward to music from Light The Torch, even if there is some slight trepidation in regards to the typically consistent quality that’s on show. Like Revival (which gives life to my critical misgivings) before it, You Will Be The Death of Me isn’t offensively bad in nature. Far, far from it—but I feel I’d be doing their 2021 effort a disservice to simply dismiss You Will Be The Death of Me as another mundane, character-lacking release.

That, I will not do.

What Light The Torch’s -ahem- sophomore does do, is bring big, bold sounds and consequently blasts them through any awaiting speaker set. “More Than Dreaming” kicks into gear, punching through with both forceful riffs and Howard’s often soaring vocal nuance, but it’s the “woah-woah” crowd chants of “Let Me Fall Apart” that pull on the nostalgic heartstrings of early 2000’s metalcore, almost forcing the listener to join in on this forty-eight minute adventure. Despite my earlier qualms about You Will Be The Death of Me’s trajectory towards middling, accessible music, I can’t help but focus on the positives and little callbacks to sounds gone by. For example whenever I hear the stomping guitar riff from “Something Deep Inside”, I find it hard not to wipe an image of Anthrax’s Scott Ian, and his ear to ear grin from my mind’s eye.

Like most metalcore before it (and the larger scope of both Howard Jones and Francesco Artusato’s more prominent projects), You Will Be The Death of Me will cater profoundly to a live setting. Most of the album’s new tracks are full of riff bombast, sing a long chorus lines and immensely satisfying harsh to clean vocal interplays. Couple that with an easily followed snare and double bass kick and we have the basic recipes for a moshing good time. Acting as the album’s titular track, “Death Of Me” is a romp. If there was any doubt on just how Howard’s voice has held up over the years it’s here that we dispel any rumours of talent falling short. It’s likely that “Death Of Me” will be a firm featurette in a setlist of growing bangers all primed for an eventual festival setting.

Looking back it’s also not hard to notice just how You Will Be The Death of Me is Jones’ greatest vocal performance post-Killswitch Engage. Not only does he still have it, Howard’s prowess hasn’t aged as his vocal chords have (having just turned 50 years old). It could even be argued that his pipes (and the added benefit of modern day production values) shine a light on just how brilliant Howard is as a vocalist...aged or not. It helps that his efforts are mixed in well, dominating most other aspects of the band’s more instrumental facets. Occasionally, the cymbal work from Alex Rudinger (normally of Whitechapel fame) washes in and out of the limelight, but for a release that’s clearly dominated by its string slingers and pipe work, most fans can easily get past this small gripe.

The problems You Will Be The Death of Me face however aren’t due to performance issues. Howard’s soaring vocals have become ‘too standard’ in the face of “wow-inducing-moments” mostly due to the fact that despite the man’s clear prowess driving both cleans and on-point harsh vocals, his style is no longer as impactful as it was circa 2004-06. It doesn’t matter that the guy doesn’t miss a note or nails every piercing scream—at the risk of sounding redundant, it simply is what it is. Similarly, the band’s verse to chorus to solo to chorus structure has become too predictable, both in terms of song progression and when compared to the record as a whole. Let’s face it, both the band and the label might be quick to describe You Will Be The Death of Me as a sophomore piece, but despite the name change and the seemingly revolving door of percussionists, Light The Torch are [almost] subjectively running the same ship formed under the Devil You Know moniker...four releases deep. Still, that doesn’t really change the fact that Light The Torch (or whatever title they release their music under) is largely the Howard Jones show. A show that treads the same well-worn path that Francesco Artusato and Jones chose back in 2014.

Even as I wrap up another consecutive listen of Light The Torch’s latest slab of proficient, if a little too safe metalcore I can’t help but wonder if I’ll be cutting and pasting the bulk of this review into the predictable next release. Personally I don’t really mind—but I’m already back to expecting something different from a group that’s more than cemented their sound. Metalcore descriptors apply, Light The Torch continue to define mainstream metalcore.



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user ratings (31)
3
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2021


15133 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

I realized I rattled about this long enough, but honestly I could've kept going. I omitted talking about the 90's cover, which neither hurts or lifts this release.

Purpl3Spartan
June 26th 2021


1205 Comments


Dang nocte getting a little nostalgic on us

Good review, but I’m probably not gonna check this

Digging: They Will Fall - On the Depths of Depravity

bloc
June 26th 2021


66549 Comments


Album cover looks like an 80s thrash band that turned "groove metal" in the 90s

Digging: Turnstile - Glow On

SitarHero
June 26th 2021


13579 Comments


The review rating is exactly the same as the overall rating. Good job Rob! This is on my list of things to check.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 26th 2021


15133 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

--The review rating is exactly the same as the overall rating.--



To be fair, we've just cracked a massive 10 ratings..



Thanks Sitar : ]

Toondude10
June 27th 2021


14619 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

yup, pretty much sums up my feelings about this general

Digging: Leprous - Aphelion

heck
June 27th 2021


6178 Comments


dreaming of a day when Howard just gives up on this mediocre band and rejoins Killswitch. no reason they can't have two vocalists.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2021


15133 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

--dreaming of a day when Howard just gives up on this mediocre band and rejoins Killswitch. no reason they can't have two vocalists.--



Just hoping for the days when festivals go nuts again and both band get slapped on the same bills so Howard naturally blasts out the hits with KsE dual vocal or no. I don't care - there's too much nostalgia to ignore.

Toondude10
June 27th 2021


14619 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"no reason they can't have two vocalists."



except they don't really have a reason to have two vocalists

heck
June 27th 2021


6178 Comments


having howard back but not losing jesse would be a pretty good reason.

Toondude10
June 27th 2021


14619 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

not really? they'd just be doing the same thing and considering how monotonous KSE's songwriting tends to be nowadays it wouldn't be very interesting for very long. The Signal Fire kinda proved that for me.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2021


15133 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

--The Signal Fire kinda proved that for me.--



Howard was woefully undermixed in that. Not to disregard your point though.

heck
June 27th 2021


6178 Comments


I wouldn't expect them to suddenly make another End of Heartache or something, but I don't see how having two very good vocalists would be a bad thing. at the very least it'd be pretty cool to see on tour.

anyway, what a weird thing to get offended enough to argue against. do you typically go up to people who say "wouldn't it be cool if..." and tell them that they're wrong?

Toondude10
June 27th 2021


14619 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

"Howard was woefully undermixed in that. Not to disregard your point though."



yeah true



tbf that entire album was a disappointment

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2021


15133 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

--anyway, what a weird thing to get offended enough to try and argue against.--



I wouldn't call that hostile by any means tbh, honestly looks like a basic discussion point. Something to talk about on a music forum or a relevant (yes this one) album review comments thread perhaps?



I mean if you have counter points I'm sure Toondude might like to hear them.

heck
June 27th 2021


6178 Comments


counter points for what, though? I'm not trying to prove or convince anyone of anything. I just said an idea I thought was cool and was a little taken aback when toon challenged it as if there's some objective right or wrong opinion on it.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2021


15133 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

--counter points for what, though?--



You're kidding right? The dude was opening up a conversation/talking point based on possibilities for a hypothetical and you're going to go with "I didn't say nothing". Not to put words in anyone's mouths here but I'm pretty sure the convo was based around "what-if" and not a take on whether something could be challenged objectively. Personally, I mentioned a 'nostalgia' reason, if that's something you are willing to explore? If not, that's cool too I guess. It does however seem weird to get offended about someone else being offended about something that probably was meant to be an olive branch to basic discussion and not actually offensive. Offensive offensive offensive...



edit: done

heck
June 27th 2021


6178 Comments


"no reason they can't have two vocalists."

"except they don't really have a reason to have two vocalists"

doesn't really read to me like the opening to a conversation on hypotheticals. he rejected the hypothetical entirely, so where does it go from there? I said why I thought it was a cool idea and he said "not really" and wrote that off too. I should've just responded with "there doesn't have to be a reason" instead, I guess.

"did you want me to clean up a couple ^ of those comments so you're not talking to yourself like a mad man?"

yes please, if you don't mind lol

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
June 27th 2021


15133 Comments

Album Rating: 3.1

--not really? they'd just be doing the same thing and considering how monotonous KSE's songwriting tends to be nowadays it wouldn't be very interesting for very long. The Signal Fire kinda proved that for me--



^This looks like the bit you've missed/overlooked. But hey, agreeing to disagreeing would also probably work here. Anyways, I don't want to get to reductive on this line of discussion if it's not going to happen - so I'll leave it at that.

heck
June 27th 2021


6178 Comments


I responded to that bit too.

I think this might just boil down to poor wording and a misreading of tone on my part. I wasn't angry or offended, just puzzled by what I perceived as an unnecessarily strong challenge against something I intended to be an innocuous bit of wistful musing and not an assertion.



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