Revocation
Deathless

Prolific and consistent are two words that spring to mind when assessing the career thus far of Boston’s Revocation. Finding cunning ways to manipulate and expand their signature technical death thrash formula has been a key to much of the band’s success and creative progress. Yet when it was announced that their year-by-year release trend would continue hot on the heels of last year’s excellent self-titled album, I must admit a shred of skepticism crept in. Not that I’ve ever really doubted the band considering their impeccable track record. But surely their prolific output would eventually hit a stumbling block, especially after another rapid turnaround on the back of a freshly inked deal with the Metal Blade juggernaut. Well, on their fifth full-length album Deathless, Revocation emphatically put those doubts to rest.

Deathless is arguably their most accomplished work yet, featuring many of the band’s trademark technical flair, slick execution and catchy songwriting, all of which is delivered with typically frenetic bursts of electrified energy. Deathless hones in on their existing songwriting strengths whilst scouting ambitious territory, resulting in the darkest, heaviest and most dynamic album Revocation has written to date. Beyond the flashy musicianship and thrash backbone, Deathless finds Revocation exploring broader structural variations that speaks of a band not content to rest on their laurels but rather continue pushing the boundaries of their sound. Perhaps it’s a sign of Revocation’s maturation and swelling artistic growth. Either way it’s a good sign for the times ahead. The injection of sinister melodies into the fray is a particularly nice touch, lending the album its unique character and spooky atmosphere. Furthermore Deathless features Revocation’s most aggressive and brutal material to date, punching twisted grooves and blastbeaten holes in the scorched earth.

Without discounting the memorable contributions of his bandmates, Dave Davidson is the fucking star of the show and a goddamn modern metal guitar hero in his own right. Like all great metal guitarists, above the flashy chops is a dude who greatly values songcraft, playing memorable riffs and smoking solos that fit snugly within the context and structures of each song. The frequent solos deployed throughout Deathless offer scintillating melodic counterpoints, both soulful and extravagant, taking virtually every song to a new level of excellence. Credit to his ever improving vocals, Davidson also delivers his most diverse performance yet, reaching deeper into his lower register than ever before and complimenting his signature howls with the sparse but effective use of his unrefined melodic cleans.

In typical Revocation style, Deathless rips in with impactful immediacy through exhilarating opener “A Debt Owed to the Grave”; a breakneck thrasher loaded with killer riffs, whipping time changes and a beguiling central melody. With its lumbering mid-tempo grooves, “Madness Opus” takes a more measured straightforward path that is nevertheless a compelling turn from the band, particularly when coupled with some very strong riffs and moments of mellow restraint. While the songwriting remains remarkably consistent for the duration, several songs in particular offer some of the most gripping moments of Revocation’s stellar career. “Labyrinth of Eyes”, “Scorched Earth Policy” and “The Blackest Reaches” forms a shredding trilogy of highlights, marked by their whipsmart dynamics, catchy hooks and effortless blend of brutality, speed and melody.

Deathless as a whole is littered with distinctive moments and memorable hooks, without a weak moment in sight. “The Fix” is a lacerating thrasher framed by Davidson’s freewheeling and bombastic soloing. Customary instrumental “Apex” is another finely fleshed out composition that combines supreme musicianship with memorable songwriting. Wisely Revocation go out with a bang with stunning closer “Witch Trials”, a rousing climax to another album of the highest quality. Deathless also benefits from a slick heavy production courtesy of Zeuss, lending the album some of the sonic power that Revocation was slightly lacking.

Revocation continues moving from strength to strength, pushing the limits creatively and confirming themselves as one of modern metal’s hardest working and most inventive bands on the scene. Deathless only reaffirms their powerhouse credentials.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Luke Saunders
October 14th, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: Guilliame

    Revocation is one of the best metal bands ever. To say they are too much Revocation is illogical. Truly great enjoyable Trash/Death. 95%!


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