Personally, I’ve always been a fan of being able to specifically categorize bands and albums into clear and defined genres. I’m rather good at this menial task, until a real genre bender walks onto my musical horizons. Revocation are such an act. Just what are they? Technical death metal? Super jazz thrashcore? Their tasteful blend of death metal disciplines, classical and jazz influences, and thrash’s typical balls-to-the-wall attitude and atmosphere makes Revocation one of the few truly unique bands falling under the thrash metal umbrella. Or is it the death metal parasol?
Either way, the band has stepped forward with their newest offering, an eponymous album with admittedly somewhat questionable artwork. Hot on the heels of their 2012 EP Teratogenesis, released for free via Scion A/V, this year’s platter of relentless jazzy madness opens up with a truly blistering opening trio of tracks. Scattering the Flock in particular stands out as a new direction for the band, favoring swirling riffs that flow ever so well over a very convincing performance from drummer Phil Dubois-Coyne. This track is evidence enough that frontman David Davidson’s writing ability has thrown itself to the progressive metal winds, with incredibly immersive results. The album’s third track, Archfiend, follows suit in a very different sense, with a splash of incredible jazz inspired chord progressions and classical guitar sections, before opening onto some of the most inspired lead work of the band’s career.
In terms of production, this album continues the polished trend of Revocation’s previous two releases. The guitars are meaty, the bass audible. The drum production is nothing short of a masterpiece in musical engineering. Few albums really capture this balance and breadth without finding the drums to be on top of everything else.
The thing which has pleased me the most about this release, however, is the sense that Revocation is no longer just David Davidson’s band. Dan Gargiulo, the band’s rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist, steps up to the mark in a much larger capacity than he did on either Teratogenesis or 2011’s Chaos of Forms. This time around, both Davidson and Gargiulo work wonders in a dual lead combination that rivals many of the greats.
Yes, the band perform on a truly virtuoso level, which can only be expected of Revocation. However, this musical beast offers so much more in terms of song writing. Tracks like The Gift You Gave and A Visitation showcase the band’s ever evolving ability to create an emotive signature sound while still remaining relatively accessible. The hooks on this album, while not overtly obvious to the untrained ear, remain truly massive.
This is indeed Revocation’s defining release. While Chaos of Forms secured the band’s place among its very few peers, this record has character where Chaos fell short. The album provides a little something for everyone. It satisfies both the appetite for masturbatory shred and smooth thrash grooves. The Dyers Eve cover is simply icing on the massive, beef-stuffed blast cake that is Revocation. So, what are they really? Simply put, heavy. – Henry