Review Summary: Metalcore by prime numbers is still metalcore by numbers.
As far as the stagnation of metalcore goes, oddly-named Pennsylvania act Royal/Revise can be labelled as a part of the solution, rather than a part of the problem. As long as that label indicates that it's a solution in its early stages. From the onset of four-song EP Revival
, the group present us with a juxtaposition of saving graces and mediocre genre-trappings. And that's basically how the story continues all the way through to the end.
Guitars, for example, are a cut above other metalcore acts and toss in a heaping spoonful of melody that many acts have forgotten in the name of Meshuggah worship. Unfortunately, said melody can be buried under the rhythms from time to time, but when it sparkles, it's an ear-catching affair. Yet, to contend, the vocals are as bland and uninspired as those you'd find on any other metalcore release. Unemotional, one-dimensional screams are the album's standard fare (just as they are standard fare for the genre at large) and while they don't dampen the impact of the sound, they don't really add anything to it.
Bass is swallowed up by the drumming on the album, leaving it entirely forgettable. But that's nothing new, either. And it's hardly a big deal. The drumming is competent enough to account for the entire rhythm section and is powerful enough to merit consideration on the basis of skill. Though it rarely reaches a dimension beyond the expected ground and pound assault you'd expect on a metalcore release (blast beats, breakdowns, et cetera) there are moments, such as the extended fill following total rhythmic silence in "Aspirations" that tell you that drummer Devin Eisenman is an asset to this band.
Yet, even given some good guitar and drum parts, it's hard to see Revival
as a standout piece. While the album follows a formula that more closely resembles that which we'd like to hear out of a metalcore artist (leaning closer to Misery Signals than Periphery, graciously), it still adheres to that formula. And while painting by a better set of numbers and tossing in a few hot licks is enough to win over local crowds, we can still see the numbers and we're all aware that the paint doesn't go very far outside the lines on this one. Or, in more concrete terms, while there are a few moments on Revival
that might spark interest in Royal/Revise's future, the album itself is not catchy or innovative enough to be anything more than a little better than its peers.
The bottom line? Unless you're scouting for undeveloped musical talent, there's no real reason for you to rush out and spend money on this one, but the follow-up may be worth a second look. If it ever happens.