B-Mac Album Review: Light the Torch, You Will Be the Death of Me

Photo by Hristo Shindov

By Brandon “B-Mac” McCarthy

Howard Jones is without a doubt one of the best modern metalcore singers of our time. From 1997 to 2004, he screamed into the microphone for Blood Has Been Shed. When he replaced Jesse Leach as the frontman for Killswitch Engage in 2002, he made his presence more known. During his time with the famed metalcore outfit, he recorded two gold records (2004’s The End of Heartache and 2006’s As Daylight Dies) and covered the iconic Ronnie James Dio tune “Holy Diver,” making his version just as iconic as Dio. In 2012, he decided to leave the band for health reasons, but he was nowhere near done with his career. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, Jones put together a new group called Light the Torch (formerly Devil You Know). After some much-needed downtime, Light the Torch has returned with their 4th release, You Will Be the Death of Me. Hoping to be a new crowning achievement for the Nuclear Blast vault, can they still carry the torch with pride? Let’s find out.

“More Than Dreaming” gives the album a boost, getting things started in the right direction. Jones soars above the clouds with his melodic voice that is as smooth as butter. Guitarist Francesco Artusato brings excitement to the riffs as they have an alternative edge, and his solo is stellar to hear. Ryan Wombacher is thunderous on the bass lines. This great opener is followed by “Let Me Fall Apart.” This tune is a future fan favorite where arena’s will be screaming very loudly. Jones is booming on the microphone, crisscrossing between sweet harmonies and brutal screams. Artusato kills it with his picking that gives off an anthemic vibe. “End of the World” has resounding intro on the drums as Light the Torch gets nastier with their vocals and musicianship. Wombacher throws down a mighty bass riff that helps with the tune’s heavier sound. It goes together nicely with Artusato’s screeching licks that would seer the flesh off the ears. “Wilting the Light” has Light the Torch get a little experimental with alternative metal. Artusato lays in different textures to his guitar work, making it sound harmonious and complex at the same time. The lyrics are ominous as it focuses on struggle. Jones knows how to make a tortured soul sound relatable.

Photo by Hristo Shindov

“Death of Me” has a majestic hook in the guitar riffs that ascends with Jones passionate singing. It also has a slight electronic-pop feel to it. I am not entirely sure how I feel about it, but Artusato is thinking outside the box with this one. In the end, Jones becomes menacing as he proclaims, ‘you will be the death of me.’ “Living With a Ghost” is armed with speedy drumbeats and booming bass hooks that Wombacher hammers down nicely. Synthesizers are used for this tune, and it helps make it even more haunting and intimidating. The evocative imagery of Light the Torch continues with “Become the Martyr.” The way the synthesizer is being performed is fantastic. Has Jones continues to tiptoe between subtlety and viciousness, Artusato plays chilling licks that will give kids nightmares. “Something Deep Inside” is the stuff captivating grooves are made of. The drummer and Wombacher make the beat meatier with their resounding playing. What stood out the most to me was Artusato’s intense solo that catapults the alternative metalcore sound into a new dominion.

Photo by Hristo Shindov

“I Hate Myself” is one of the more tamed songs off the album. Lyrically, the words can strike a chord with anyone who has ever felt low about themselves. Jones brings pain to his singing, but I thought the music was forgettable. I did not think it mixed well with powerful lyrics. Now “Denying the Sin” is more up to par with what Light the Torch is all about. In true metalcore fashion, the chaotic guitar riffs go hand-in-hand with the destructive force of the drums and mighty bass notes. Jones screams louder than he has ever screamed before, while the spirit of Dimebag possesses Artusato as he solos a fiery lick. A much better song for sure. “Come Back to the Quicksand” is the last original track off of You Will Be the Death of Me. The lyrics to me suggests the struggles of addiction and how one falls into its quicksand. I love how Jones is being raw and passionate with his voice on hard topics. What really grabbed me was Wombacher’s deep, doom-like beats that counteracts Artusato’s fiery solo. The album closes out with the Terence Trent D’Arby classic, “Sign Your Name.” Listening to D’Arby’s version, he brings in soul and reggae. Light the Torch rather emulates D’Arby’s version, but they overlay it with heavy licks, a sizzling solo, and an alternative flow. An interesting choice for a cover, but it is not too shabby.

Light the Torch are still burning very brightly. You Will Be the Death of Me displays the group’s continuous efforts to improve their heavy metal as well as advance it. Jones still has a righteous voice where he can sing with ferocity and harmony. I believe Kyle Baltus handled the drumming, but I cannot confirm it because he recently left the group. If it is true, then he left a great parting gift for the fans. I see this solid record as bigger than 2018’s Revival. Now all that is left is to hear these tunes live. To Light the Torch, I salute you. Horns up!!!

8.8/10

Track Listing:

01. More Than Dreaming
02. Let Me Fall Apart
03. End of the World
04. Wilting In the Light
05. Death of Me
06. Living With a Ghost
07. Become the Martyr
08. Something Deep Inside
09. I Hate Myself
10. Denying the Sin
11. Come Back to the Quicksand
12. Sign Your Name

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