Reveal!
Doppelherz

Reveal! Comes from Uppsala, Sweden and Doppelherz is their fourth album.  The cover, a painted face from the perspective of looking up at it from 45 degrees, is reminiscent of a more abstract nod to King Crimson’s In The Court Of The Crimson King. The music of Reveal! Is not ‘progressive’ in the technical, dual necked lute -way, but does share a similar disregard for genre parameters.

Doppelherz sounds like what I imagine their post rehearsal playlist might be.  Knocking back dark lager after a two hour rehearsal In the dim, moist cellar of a Swedish flower shop as the likes of mid period Satyricon, The Birthday Party, Cardinal’s Folly, Angel Witch, obscure 70s Dutch prog, and Blue Oyster Cult echo off of the cool, irregular fieldstone walls on into the evening while the band carries on important discussions such as what the best doom record is of each European country of each decade since 1980.

This is not to say the songs merely sound like an exhaustive list of ingredients of their myriad influences.  They’re quite deftly combined and baked to perfection recipe’s of these influences. Opener “Cocoon (Bitch Regalia)” burns at the altar of deranged 70s proto-metal rock riff deities.  Vintage blown tube guitar solos  compliment spring reverb throbbing vocal accents but by 2/3 through they break into a seamless black metal paced blitz.  I’d simply call it black & roll if it didn’t seem like too cheap of a qualifier.  Certainly when your album is in the same league with such masters of style as Negative Plane.  Maybe more specifically they perform a blackened doom & roll.   In this case, ‘doom’ being the candle lit dirge of early Pentagram, ‘roll’ the transcendent nether-blues riffing of Blue Oyster Cult, with ‘blackened’ shifts in the spirit of Bathory and Dark Throne. 

Peeking back at Reveal!’s catalog I realize I’m passingly familiar with their 2019 album Scissorgod.  I recall checking it out but not committing to a full listen.  To my ears it was a bit more challenging, finding the band exploring the more out there avenues of 80’s freaks of rock like Jesus Lizard if their aim was reinterpreting Bathory songs.  Where Jesus Lizard, and album Scissorgod, could be angular and staggering, Doppelherz hones in on the all important groove.  Something even Jesus Lizard found by Shot, their fourth album.   “Angels Bend” is the most perfect example of this chiseled groove. For Doppelherz, Reveal! drape occult rock, NWOBHM, and black metal like a leather and sheep wool cloak over the skeleton of Scissorgod and fit it with a detailed bronze helmet that features the Blue Oyster Cult logo.  At all times evoking the strangely familiar into highly effective churns of clang-tankerous, burnt offerings of blackened cabaret. 

Tone freaks will absolutely appreciate the dialed in, period legit depth of each instrument.  The production, like their style crossing, is a barely perceptible bridge between current capabilities of definition and the gritty pastel greens and browns like that of the interior of a mid-70’s European headshop. The undoubtedly well curated amping and guitar effects are emphasized in a way that puts you in the rehearsal space.  It recalls a remastered Tyranny & Mutation with beefed up frequencies across the board.  Remarkably, despite all the way back referencing of classic rock and doom, Reveal! don’t lean into any stoner or 70’s throwback tropes that often make me scoff.  They took these classic influences and interpreted them in an organically original way, backing up the nostalgia with that factor which is of utmost significance: god damn RIIIIIIIIFFS!

Going even further back to sample their first few releases it’s clear Reveal! have been apprenticing long and hard and Doppelherz is their induction as journeyman.  Having cut and crafted their long ship with new contours in search of the detailed refinement that yields the form of themselves that is most right. So tastefully fabricated of beloved worn influences into a newly constructed, spell enhanced vessel.  The thrill of hearing an album like this is, while it may inevitably be overlooked, I know this is going to light up the right listener and stay in their rotation.  It’s the type of album that inspires one to throw on the studded jean jacket, jump in the ‘88 brown Volvo and take a scenic cruise on Sweden’s E4 for a few spins of the record.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Mars Budziszewski
December 15th, 2021

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