Thursday, 21 July 2016

Revocation "Empire Of The Obscene" (2008)


With the band releasing their sixth full length in just a few days I thought it would be fitting to revisit the album where it all started, their debut. At the time I thought it was a godsend, a breath of new life that Metal music needed but around the time of their forth record my love for them started to fade. Its peculiar to loose interest but I reflect its when my interest in other forms for music really started to expand. Revocation are a balls to the wall Metal outfit with a modern style that unites the flame of old school Thrash Metal energy with a modern aesthetic and expanded song writing approach. I will always remember fondly discovering this record through music sharing blogspots on the day of its release. The cover screamed epic and what was inside was just what a fanatic metalhead like myself wanted at the time. All these years later its still fun but I am not expecting to be thrilled by their next record "Great Is Our Sin".

The album opens with a blast of energy, a vile angry scream roars out and the drums and guitar kick into a mean riff setting the tone for wild thrashing brutality. The second scream starts as a bree and transforms into a regular one before the song settles into itself at a fast pace. At the time it was to be expected, on reflection the hangover of bree's and squee's from the trending Deathcore scene sound stale and uninteresting. Its the records only downside, everything else still sounds as wild, energetic and fun as it did back then. The production should be merited for its clarity of all three instruments, the base has texture and is audible as a separate entity operating in the grooving realm below the guitars which as a lone force sounds mammoth in the rhythm riffs and with the backing of the bass still sound full on when playing out solos or leading the riffs into melodic phases. The drums sound crisp with a tight snappy snare and punchy kicks. There's lots of light hi hat cymbals rattling away, maybe only the crash and chine cymbals sound a little over loud at times.

Although a three-piece at the time, the band is essentially the brain child of guitarist David Davidson. As a classically trained musician his knowledge and ability to express shines through these songs which take a path from riff to riff and go through fantastic phases of tight, technical riffage with plenty of room for melodic leads and guitar solos to develop a grander scale. They feel without restraint and David fleshes his riffs and songs out with plenty of variation and progression that feels at times unnoticeable in there authenticity. Another aspect of this record I adore are the guitar solos. Almost every track has one and they are fantastic, a real throw back to the days where every song would feature a wild guitar solo. Whats best is that they are always relevant to the song, rather than being stitched in over a repeating riff, they often help the song get from a to b and more often than not in memorable style. These licks burst to life and erupt from the already energetic music. A personal favorite is "Exhumed Identity" where after a couple of illuminating solos have played out and the song is returning to its main theme, the instruments drop, a cry of "Guitar!" calls out and everything bust back into another wild solo to end the song with a classic attitude!

Reinforcing David's blinding guitar riffs the drums make a memorable show with a tight and precise performance. They are distinctly different in the way their groove and rhythm exudes from the fast shuffles and rapid pedal blasting that alternate restlessly through the songs. Lots of lighter cymbals are rustled with intricate patterns. Mini blast beats flick off and on like a light switch to create an overarching sense of groove. They are much like what you'd expect on a Technical Death Metal record and bring about a refreshing energy to the mostly Thrash sound at play. The chemistry of the three is crucial and for a debut this is a fantastic record to crash into the scene with, unfortunately for Revocation the critical response has been far ahead of their slowly growing fan base. I would of said it back then, I wouldn't of been surprised if this band would be grabbing main stage slots at festivals in 2016. Listening to it again Ive released in their development over the years this sound is now behind them and perhaps I never drifted away from it but from their newer material. Solid album without a moment of filler. Still exciting across the fifty five minutes all these years later.

Rating: 9.5/10

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