REVIEW: REVOCATION – “Great Is Our Sin”
Not many would disagree that Revocation has been having a dream run up till now. Churning out five impeccable releases in their 10 years of existence is truly a fantastic achievement. At the same time, as a fan, I would be lying if I say that I don’t worry about this dream run ending. I always get this weird nervous palpitation before I push that play button for any new release by a band having such a flawless discography. However, the opening seconds of Revocation’s latest album, ‘Great Is Our Sin’ thankfully lay all my fears to rest.
The album kicks off with “Arbiters of the Apocalypse” and soon enough you realize, Revocation have hit the nail right on the head yet again. The opener’s thrashy gallops fill up your ear drums nicely and pumps you up as if you got an adrenaline booster shot. In true Revocation style, the track builds up the intensity peppering the thrashy foundation with Death Metal flutters and neat tempo changes. Especially drummer Ash Pearson provides a lot of dynamics to this track with his crispy work and interesting fills. Midway through the track, one can hear a slow ambient guitar line nestled in the backdrop that imparts a hue of melody in the midst of all the chaos. It kicks into a nice solo soon after, before repeating the chorus and ending this strong opener in style.
The one aspect that sets Revocation apart from the clutter of other Death Thrash/Tech-Death bands is its intensely engaging compositions. Tech-Death bands can become quite tedious to listen to and often in the quest for technicality, transgress the whole idea of delivering fist pumping, headbanging metal. However, that seldom happens with Revocation and that balance of technicality and raw power remains intact in their latest album as well. Take “The Exaltation” for example. This instrumental track effortlessly combines punchy groove laden Death/Thrash riffage at breakneck speeds with oodles of progressive tempo changes and deliver it with a machine like precision that simply cannot disappoint anyone who likes metal. It personifies the might of Revocation perfectly.
In the past, some have complained that Revocation albums sound similar to each other and there is a lack of “evolutionary” progress in their albums. Although I don’t care much about such things but for the sake of that observation, I can easily claim that ‘Great Is Our Sin’ tears that argument to shreds. “Communion”, for example, has several moments that surpass the band’s previous attempts in terms of intensity, aggression and technicality. Roughly 2 minutes into the track, the progressive twist the band takes is something we haven’t seen Revocation employ much so far. And soon after it, David Davidson’s solo simply makes the track soar with bluesy licks and delectable harmonies ultimately leading into the storm that drummer Ash Pearson creates with a nice combination of blast beats and double bass, that will force you to raise those metal horns up.
I felt “Communion” to be a turning point in the album from which the band starts to crank up the progressive elements in their compositions in the midst of the aggression. Tracks like “Only the Spineless Survive” ride on a slightly slower, thicker atmospheric base initially before exploding into their trademark style. The manner in which the band switches gears is amazing. For these reasons, I found the second half of the album much more enjoyable than the first. The album ends with a kickass rendition of Slayer’s “Altar of Sacrifice”.
The theme of the album revolves around the folly of man not learning from the mistakes done in the past. The artwork too paints a picture on the similar lines featuring a human skull being scavenged by rats, maggots and vultures, depicting the ultimate price of the great sin. Chris “Zeuss” Harris who also produced ‘Deathless’ does a great job in providing a modern sound without distorting the organic feel of the compositions. Lengthwise, the album stands at 45 minutes that will definitely demand multiple spins from the listener.
Revocation surpass expectations in their sixth album ‘Great Is Our Sin’. True to the band’s promise, it does seem to be one of the most potent, technical and abrasive releases they have made so far. Watch out for the progressive elements the band incorporates in the mix. It definitely makes one excited about the possibilities of newer directions for the band to take in the future.