The long-awaited, new, self-titled album from modern thrashers Revocation is coming out in less than a month and I, for one, am very much looking forward to it. When I reviewed their last release, Chaos of Forms, I believe I’d mentioned something to the effect of it being the best thrash album I’d heard, EVER! High praise considering I can’t stand 98 percent of the bands who fit into the genre. But more than that, Revocation almost immediately became one of my favorite bands across metal sub-genres just due to their obvious talent and the quality of what they offer. When you listen to them, you can tell that these guys could probably do pretty much anything they wanted well, and they choose to go the extreme metal route simply because they enjoy it. All the better to make your ears bleed! Now, on to the new album.
The production quality and overall sound of the album sounds fairly similar to Chaos of Forms, if not a bit more refined with a slight rounding off of that thrash edges. The opening tracks, “The Hive” and “Scattering The Flock,” sound a little flat for album openers, and as a result, this album isn’t as immediately attention-grabbing as some of their past efforts. Things don’t really come alive until the third track, “Arch Fiend,” which is completely fucking awesome. It would’ve been a much more effective opener with its compelling variety of melodic content and exciting lead sections. It even has a very satisfying acoustic interlude which just shows what this band is capable of.
They keep this intensity going on the tracks that follow with an extremely technical and tight performance. If you’ve seen them live, you know they can reproduce without the aid of studio magic. There are a few moments that are more what I’d call thrash standards (riff and beat combinations you’ve heard somewhere before in one form or another), but the stand-out parts really do shine. The majority of the tracks on this album are strong and loaded with Revocation‘s unique personality and several little musical surprises, i.e.; the dialed to 11 onslaught of “The Gift You Gave” and the unexpected introduction of banjo in the otherwise relentlessly brutal “Invidious.” The instrumental “Spastic” is a ridiculously awesome foray into prog-metal territory that will leave no doubt about Revocation‘s prowess as amazing composers.
Fans of the band will also be happy to know that the quality of lead guitar work on this album is, of course, on par with or even an improvement on previous releases. Guitarists David Davidson and Dan Gargiulo continue to stand tall along side some of the greatest shredders you can think of while still maintaining their own identities. The solos on this record evoke the styles of everyone from Marty Friedman to Chuck Schuldiner to John Petrucci.
The drumming and what I can hear of the bass on this album is also phenomenal. It’s always tight and tasteful, delivering exactly what is called for to fit perfectly with the rest of the music. The bass – well, let’s face it – it’s hard for a bass player to get much glory in music like this (I actually have to really tweak the EQ on my system to even hear the bass.). It definitely comes across much better in the band’s live performances.
Happily, the album ends on a much stronger note than it begins. The last two tracks, “Entombed By Wealth” and “A Visitation,” are both powerful songs, a recurring theme in most of Revocation‘s music in general. I have no doubt that this self-titled release will end up being one of the top 5 albums put out by an American metal band in 2013.
Revocation is out August 6 on Relapse Records.
Rating: 4/5 Stars