Friday, 5 October 2018

Revocation "The Outer Ones" (2018)

I have a strong connection to the Boston based Revocation. I caught their debut album Empire Of Obscene literately moments after it reached the blogspot scene. It was an instant connection and I regarded them as one of Metal's finest new acts, expecting them to rise to the top but it wasn't to be so. I still think they are criminally underrated but as the years stroll by and the excitement of "traditional" Metal wains I found myself becoming disinterested in them. This new chapter is a big step up from Great Is Our Sin, which in turn was a also a step up from the disappointing Deathless.

The group continue to firmly stick by their core identity of style and with that run the risk of repeating themselves. They call it diminishing returns, the first exposure always has the most impact but in the case of The Outer Ones they push the boundaries far, holding onto that distinguished character while creating a new and vividly animated universe of beastly Extreme Metal in the Revocation name. It holds up well to the ambitions conveyed by its spacial, maddening and slightly creepy album art.

The core tenants of brutality and Thrash hold true as forays into the antics of Technical Death and Progressive Metal bring about a detailed and dizzying web of indulgent music, punishing in tone but aesthetically gorgeous in delivery. Its production squeezes in the instruments with clarity and precision. As a result the bass guitar gets room to maneuver into focus with a luminous gritty texture in its select moments. David Davidson also stretches his voice down a peg with a significant amount of low, growling guttural vocals that land with a streak of menace, something he has clearly worked hard on. It gives the music many hair raising moments.

The music itself is a never ending sprawl of clever riff design and song structuring that creates a very specific atmosphere. I feel like a lot of the record gets caught up in the brutal aspect of their sound. Its the songs that offer the most respite from the slaughter that bring about the best moments, that and the guitar leads. These erupting solos evolve the songs, played with true intent and vision they time and time again mask the shifts of music and make the whole experience organic. That's frequently a tricky task for tricky music that is dexterous but often mechanical and without feeling.

This record has brought the utmost enjoyment, yet as I touched on, it is the subversion of the core tenants that bring about the magic. If Revocation where to explore directions that stray from the roots I am confident they would find gold. In a few brief instances I am reminded fondly of Opeth, a band that utilize clean vocals exceptionally well. At many times I felt the music was yearning for that but most likely that is my own taste exerting itself on a punishing and brutal record that for over half of its duration is dancing in the swamps of mean and ugly guitar playing brought to the mercy of groove and sensibilities. Its a cracking listen for any Extreme Metal fan.

Rating: 8/10
Favorite Tracks: Blood Atonement, Vanitas, Ex Nihilo, A Starless Darkness

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