Review Summary: The definitive thrash/tech death album of the year!
Since their inception, Revocation have been steadily building exposure with two solid albums and a exceptional live show. 2009's critically well recived Existence is Futile, established the band's virtuoso abilities and opened doors. Their signature blend of grove, stomping riffs, and skull crushing brutality isn't anthything ground breaking, but has enough personality to ascend the new wave of thrash stereotype they don't deserve. Their third full length, Chaos of forms, attempts to assault your ears and continue their onslaught in the metal genre. Not only have Revocation hit the mark with this LP, but they've carried the target back to Boston.
Contemplate the originality of the bands associated with the Thrash revival scene for a moment... Bands like Havok, Toxic Holocaust, and Municipal Waste wear their influences on their solo shredded sleeves. Whether their devotion to their elders is too stringent is up for debate, but many find their lack of identity fatiguing and unpleasantly familiar. Revocation aren't completely exempt from this phenomena, but immune in a way. Revocation definitely have evident traces of influence coursing through their veins, but their music isn't as transparent nor reflective of many of their contemporaries. Take the content of a rock garden for example. Sure Revocation have the common dreary coloured stones and pebbles, but along those nooks and crannies exist grassy elevated hills, numerous cacti, ponds surrounded by violet roses, and a gorgeous flamingo pin-wheel. Like Rock gardens, Revocation are more focused on making the variables lively, interesting, and varied, rather than fundamentally re-inventing the constants.
One of the bands biggest achievements has been the technical and full sound they pull off despite being a three piece. The difficulty and polish that was required to play with intense speed and precision on their last release, is a testament to their awesome musical prowess. Uncertainty arose when new blood entered the mix. The proposition of a new member surely would affect the band's dynamic, but how? Thankfully, the new rhythm guitarist Dan Gargiulo, has improved riff orientated structures and their grove laden sound. The side effect is that the Band has become a tad more reliant on riffs. Don't interpret this change as wankery taking a back seat. In fact their are numerous sections where it sounds like Dave Davidson's(lead guitar/lead vocalist) hand has caught fire and to extinguish said fire, requires him to scale the fret board as fast as humanly possible. And the solos, my gawd the solos... Some of the best I've heard since "The Blackening". Davidson's phenomenal work ethic and results, have lead many to believe he is one of the most skilled guitarists of today. Based on Davidson's praise and his share of devoted review text, you wouldn't be wrong to assume his guitar work is Revocation's bread and butter. The band prove that importance again by making sure every tune has the perfect amount of melodicism, style, and heaviness injected. The outcome is 47 minutes of consistently good and memorable material.
Vocally, Davison will be a love it or hate it affair with listeners. Utilizing a hardcore tinged shout for most of his interjections, Davidson sounds powerful, unpleasant, and extremely "in your face". He keeps things interesting by mixing and layering gang vocals, deep growls, and a few clean(but still dirty) passages. Unsurprisingly, the bass is still a integral part of their sound. Anthony Buda isn't just there to beef up the sound(although he does a good job of it) or play the traditional follow the leader game with the guitarist. Mr. Buda stands out and contributes to the complexity and grove of their sound. The fact that bass is mostly audible throughout the entire album is a breath of fresh air to the genre. The last member Phil Dubois, is a unrelenting beast behind the kit. The astounding fidelity he encapsulates sonically, results in the most enjoyable blast beats and fills in recent memory. Together, Revocation come through crystal clear from a production standpoint. For some, the major criticism may be that Chaos of Forms comes off too polished and somewhat sterile. Instead, this production approach works in favor of Revocation's ultra technical sound by giving band members better representation, contrast, and impact.
Despite being amazing musicians, the band's real success is in their song writing. Death metal can be a inaccessible genre, because of how much it requires of the listener. Whether it be a jazzy interlude, instrumental, or a full horn section, Revocation has wisely chosen to give the abundant brutality, short, enjoyable breaks. While some of these stylistic sections may look even more inaccessible on paper, Revocation have seamlessly blended everything to a chohesive quality. This added variety(non-existent on Existence is Futile) portrays the band's invigoration to expand their sound.
Revocation have topped Existence is Futile, and then some. Blast beats, groovin' basslines, demonic shouts, and ear piercing solos are only a few ingredients that make up this sporadic concoction. The level of fidelity found on this record will impress even the most accomplished musicians. Chaos of Forms has made it bluntly obvious that each member has poured 100% of their ability into every track. The result is 12 compelling songs that will be in your CD player for many spins to come!