Album Review: Self-Titled by Revocation
Posted by RiffRaff
Why do I like heavy metal music? To get into the specifics of it would really lead me to writing a long-winded, boring, self-serving dissertation on psychology, the human condition, and the release of more inner feelings than I would ever care to put onto the internet. But to sum the question up nice and concisely, I love the energy of heavy metal. Whether it be electric-like energy of thrash metal, the aggressive energy of death metal, the groove energy of stoner/doom, or the mish-mash of all energies in prog. Everything about the energy of heavy metal and its various genres effect my being more so than any other style of music. But regardless of genre, more often than not, bands/albums don’t reach their full energy potential and after listening to so many albums that don’t reach that 100% energy level one tends to become complacent and 90% becomes the 100%. Ya, follow?
What am I getting at here? Well, even though there have been many superb albums released this year, after listening to the new self-titled album by Revocation ad nauseam for the past couple weeks, it feels like those albums that felt like 100% energy at the time were just 90%ers. Nothing against those brilliant records, but now that the ‘energy bar’ has been raised, it a tad difficult to go back to them and not ask for that next 10%. So, as you probably guessed by now, the new Revocation album is a record that oozes with energy, pure, raw, uncompromising energy that don’t take no shit from no one.
If you’re familiar with Revocation’s previous outings, Chaos of Forms, Existence is Futile, and the E.P. Teratogenesis, you know by now what you’re getting from a Revocation album. The new eponymous record doesn’t look to break the mold they have created, but it refines it and smooths it with fine grain sand paper as the Revocation formula is now at damn near perfection. Speedy thrash metal attitudes clash with death metal groove, Gorguts style technical instrumentation, and snarly/growly vocals filled with piss and vinegar yet superb in their dictation. What separates Revocation from the rest doing the thrashy/deathy/techy metal thing is two bullet points. One: These guys are insanely above par musicians who also have wicked crazy songwriting skills. And two: The music is positively charged. What I mean by that is, midst the aggression and anger, there is this liberating and uplifting feel to nearly every note they play. I can not ever wipe the shit-eating grin from my face while listening or avoid using the word ‘fun’ when describing their sound. And that’s pretty much the core of it. Listening to Revocation is just a flat-out good time, fun.
One thing that really stood out to me on this record was how perfect the pacing of the whole thing is. It kicks of with the thrash-tastic track “The Hive” where the band asserts the fact that they came here to play heavy f’n metal and chew bubble gum, and no more bubble gum remains. The song feel like a massive shot of [insert shady amphetamine here] directly to the vein and it sets the high energy tone of the album perfectly which carries into the next track and a half. About midway into the third song, “Archfiend” the band pulls out their big guns, and also what their most famous for, and turns the intensity of that high-speed train their conducting into a different gear and unleash what is easily the nicest twist in a song I’ve heard so far this year. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for anyone, but let’s just say it involves a wicked sick proggy build up leading into some gorgeous clean guitars and another take on the meaning of high energy personified by modern guitar hero David Davidson’s legendary fret work. And then back into more of that ‘bubble gum-less’ thrash-vana for the following “Numbing Agents” and its neighboring cronies, all peppered with twist and turns that keep the music constantly engaging and interesting.
As the record continues on Revocation continue to refine their unique thrash style and little surprises pop up left and right up to and including some thrash-banjo (yes, your read that properly), well-placed and super-effective breakdowns, and more high-flying solos than you can shake a stick at. By the time the final track, “A Visitation”, plays I could only imagine that the majority of listeners would embrace the same physical appearance I had afterwards. Picture a person that just had the wildest, taboo-ridden, passionate sex ever all while maintaining a firm grip on a fork that was deeply inserted into an electrical socket. Kinda like that.
In summary, I am absolutely blown away by this album, but that’s not to say it doesn’t have a couple of flaws I need to point out given I’m sucking Revocation’s ass so hard in this review. One thing I did find lacking was there were no songs that latched onto me as strongly as a couple of their previous tracks, namely “Cradle Robber” off of Chaos of Forms. Think like this, I like “Cradle Robber” 110%, the songs on here only make it to 100% likability. But taken in as a whole I found that this is a much more solid and coherent album from front to back where every song hits 100% unlike the formers which were like 100%, 110%, 90%, 60%, 110%, etc. And my other grievance goes out to the people in charge of the mixing, mastering, and all that other production stuff and isn’t a slag on the band in the slightest, it also goes out to many other behind the scenes people making metal music. Stop it with the maxed levels god damn it!!! I know how to use my volume knob perfectly fine, thank you!! A bit more dynamics on the recording could have really highlighted some killer moments on this album, but oh well, this shit seems to be becoming the norm nowadays, ‘frowny face’. [disclaimer: I am reviewing this on an advance promo copy and when I get my CD version from the store and if it happens to sound any better I will amend the review and send a written apology to those involved in the production. But past experience has taught me this usually isn’t the case.]
So, yeah, buy this album. It’s energy is a rare breed and it will kick your ass all over the place and you’ll had damn good fun the whole time. Listening to Revocation is like a reaffirmation on everything I love about heavy metal and this album is no different. Now if you excuse me I need to go listen to this album a few hundred more times and ignore the building pile of other stuff I need to get around to writing about. Peace Love and Metal!!!!
The self-titled album by Revocation is out through Relapse Records on Aug. 2nd in Germany, Aug. 5th in the rest of Europe and places not named North America, it comes out there on the 6th. All 2013. Follow Revocation on the social media thingies like Facebook here and keep up to date on tours and stuff (they are just kicking off a N. American tour right now and a European tour in the early Autumn, so get on that shit and go rage!)
About RiffRaffJust takin' it easy for all you sinners.
Posted on July 30, 2013, in Album Reviews and tagged 2013, Album Reviews, Death Metal, metal, Metal Reviews, Music, Music Reviews, Revocation, Self Titled, Thrash Metal. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.