Review Summary: An E.P that fizzes with invention and leaks thrash and death sensibilities; short and sweet.
At the end of the year, most music websites released their ‘best of’ countdowns, and I always make a point of browsing these lists to see if there’s anything outstanding that I may have missed. On last year’s lists, a number of websites dedicated exclusively to metal genres incorporated this E.P at notably high numbers on several of them. A little perturbed that a band I had not even heard of had managed to earn such a place on such an important list, I immediately took note. Now I completely understand why so many thought so highly of this release, because when I listen to an E.P, especially when it’s by a band I have never listened to before, and my most sincere wish is that the release was longer, the band are clearly doing something right.
Traditional death metal values and showmanship are worn with a careless affection on the sleeve of the release; the title Teratogenesis
is defined in medical terms as ‘Development of malformed organisms or growths’. Thankfully, this is only in relation to certain metaphors present on the album and not a hideously self-referential statement in relation to the music. Opener ‘The Grip Tightens’ is a suitably venomous and noticeably thrash-influenced composition, with a heavy, sprightly riff and an impressive solo. The vocals are consistent, just as they are for the majority of the album, and they consist of half-shouted, half-screamed growls, but also implement some subtle cleans in the melodic refrains. In songwriting terms, it shows the band working in tried and tested formula with verses, choruses, and solos, but the proficiency the band carry this off with render the final product tuneful, bassy and enjoyable.
Songs such as ‘Maniacally Unleashed’ and ‘Bound By Desire’ continue this quintessentially thrash style, but pioneer it by incorporating some impressively technical facets and death metal tropes, such as the breakdowns and the lyrical themes. The latter begins with a barrage of death metal riffing and features a gloriously complex solo that merges beautifully with the melody and bass until a fantastically clipped arpeggio and sweep-picking postlude are introduced. Title track ‘Teratogenesis’ is probably the song which most displays these death influences, utilising low growls, sweeping melodies and an assaultive, downtuned riff. Unfortunately, it’s also where Revocation decides to get a little too silly with lyrical themes. Such lines as, ‘Manipulating the minds of men, concealed in darkness I prey, twisting the psyches of the weaklings, leading them further astray’ feel too cliché, and despite the fact the release it littered with lyrical staples of the genre (‘Exploding throughout, gore spilling out’, ‘Suffocating, as we watch our world come undone, knowing the worst is yet to come’ etc.), it is only in this song where it feels a little too self-referential.
The E.P’s finest hour, though, has to come with the second track, ‘Spurn The Outstretched Hand’. The track is an intricately penned and brilliantly melodic song that essentially feels like one long breakdown, but never feels overdone. It fluctuates tempestuously between the riff played on guitar and the same riff repeated on the bass, parting with an high-pitched string trill, as vocalist Davidson screams, ‘what’s yours is mine.’ The break of the song introduces a worthy solo that sweeps and fluxes as the drums repeat. Eventually, the initial riff is reinstated and this ends the song at its creative peak.
Energetic and brilliantly consistent, Teratogenesis
is a creative joy. The technical death metal – thrash amalgamation works, so much so that the E.P concludes long before it has outstayed its’ welcome, and the heavy yet tuneful melodies render the music itself very accessible, without sacrificing any of the elements fans of any of the genres will lament being without.