Album review: Light The Torch – You Will Be The Death Of Me
When Howard Jones left Killswitch Engage in 2012, it was, he says, because the anxiety and stress of being on tour eventually meant that, “I physically and mentally couldn’t get onstage,” an issue not helped by keeping on top of living with Type‑2 diabetes. Listening to Light The Torch’s second album, it certainly wasn’t because of musical differences. Though not a copy of Killswitch, they’re nevertheless a similarly huge-sounding, stompy metal vessel in which Howard’s massive voice really shows its power.
The moments of full-bore metal – opener More Than Dreaming and the chonky Denying The Sin – batter solidly. But more often they lean into melody, letting testosterone take a passenger seat to a more obvious skill with a tune. Let Me Fall Apart, Wilting In The Light and Death Of Me are gigantic songs that find Howard in his sonorous element, big on riffs while easy on the ear, without being cheesy American radio rock. The keyboard washes are reminiscent of that period around 2003 where every Scandinavian melodic death metal band (In Flames, Soilwork, Hypocrisy) had at least one singalong banger per album, and where you expect a song called I Hate Myself to be a nihilistic blaster, it’s a more reflective moment in which Howard sounds as good as he ever did.
It does get a bit samey towards the end, and a cover of Sign Your Name by Terence Trent D’Arby sounds like a filler track if you’re not familiar with the original (in which case it’s actually rather good), but it’s good to have Howard back. It would have been a shame to have a self-evident talent like his lost to incompatibility with touring life. Far from being the death of him, Light The Torch have proven a comfortable home.
For fans of: In Flames, Soilwork, Bring Me The Horizon
You Will Be The Death Of Me is released on June 25 via Nuclear Blast.
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