Review by Greg Maki
“More Than Dreaming” opens “You Will Be the Death of Me,” the second album by Light the Torch, with a heavier riff and rhythm than almost anything on 2018’s “Revival.” For a few seconds, you might be tempted to think the band is reaching back to its Devil You Know days, or perhaps even further into its members’ metalcore origins. But then comes that smooth, powerful voice that is unmistakably Howard Jones (ex-Killswitch Engage), and it’s clear this record is building off the melodic nature of its predecessor—which is a very good thing, because few bands can balance heaviness and vocal hooks as effectively as Light the Torch.
While Jones’s commanding tones are the forefront of each song, the driving force musically is guitarist Francesco Artusato (ex-All Shall Perish). His riffs are razor sharp—a perfect complement to Jones—and he’s incorporated keys throughout a handful of songs, adding texture and creating an almost cinematic feel—no easy feat in a collection of three- to four-minute rock songs. (It’s most effective on “End of the World” and “Death of Me.”)
The rhythm section of bassist Ryan Wombacher (Bleeding Through) and new drummer Alex Rudinger (Whitechapel) is a potent combo, as well, doing far more than simply keeping time. When I interviewed Artusato in 2018, he stressed that he tries to write for every instrument, not just guitar, and that approach comes through loud and clear on “You Will Be the Death of Me.” This is a complete band, not a star with a bunch of sidemen.
Highlights of the record include the lead single “Wilting in the Light” and the late one-two punch of “Denying the Sin,” the heaviest track on the album, and “Come Back to the Quicksand,” one of the more relaxed songs here and featuring a short but tasty guitar solo. The album ends with a cover of the 1987 Terence Trent D’Arby track “Sign Your Name”—I was unfamiliar with the original before this—which I fully expect SiriusXM’s Octane to have in heavy rotation before long.
“You Will Be the Death of Me” does what any good sophomore album should do, expanding the sound of Light the Torch while emphasizing what it did so well the first time around.
Nuclear Blast Records – June 25, 2021