Revocation
Existence is Futile

This young Boston, MA based power trio first caught my attention earlier this year when I came across their debut full length from last year, Empire of the Obscene. It was an impressive mix of technical ability, classic thrash hues, hints of modern death metal, catchy melodies and pummeling groove – it was all over the map stylistically, but still managed to sound mostly cohesive. At the time they were unsigned, but I thought to myself “it won’t be long before these guys get signed”. A short couple months later, I found out they were indeed signed by Relapse and were releasing a new album by years end – anticipation piqued. So now here we have it, their second full length, Existence is Futile, and it’s every bit as good as I knew and thought it would be.

First things first, all of the above mentioned elements of their sound are still in place here, but seem to have been reigned in even more than before. Any moments from the debut that felt maybe a little disjointed have been smoothed out, creating streamlined, eye-popping displays of technical savagery. What’s most impressive though is the fact that even though they have a very technical approach to their music, they never wander into the realm of pure, mindless wankery. Instead, they craft true songs that can dazzle in both complexity and accessibility and memorability. It’s no easy feat, but they make it seem effortless. “Pestilence Reigns”, “The Brain Scramblers” and “Anthem of the Betrayed” are all perfect examples of this.

One issue some folks might have with Revocation is the vocals of bassist Anthony Buda and guitarist David Davidson (it’s not exactly clear who is the primary vocalist, no matter where you look). The dominating style here is bordering on a hardcore type approach, perhaps a bit more deathly though, with the occasional lower register growls thrown in to break it up some. This can pose a problem for many metal fans, as those kind of vocals seem to be disregarded by many. I myself don’t mind, because they’re pretty well done and not overused – Existence is Futile is an instrumentally focused album – see instrumental track “Across Forests and Fjords” or the album closing epic “The Tragedy of Modern Ages” for extended musical jams.

I must also commend producer Pete Rutcho on his fantastic, clean production he’s provided here – music of this nature should always be clear to hear and pick out all the little nuances – everything sounds great, and you can easily pick out the bass, thankfully. Another thing I really like is when they occasionally drop the backing riff to let an incredible solo shine over a simple bass line and drum pattern. It really puts a lot of focus and draws attention to the solo, which are all equally amazing anywhere you look on Existence is Futile.

That’s it. I don’t have anything else to say about Existence is Futile, so if you like technical, thrashy stuff, pick this up ASAP – one of the years best.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Larry "Staylow" Owens
November 17th, 2009

Comments

  1. Commented by: Joe

    This is pretty badass. sounds like they’ve studied Martyr closely.


  2. Commented by: Dan

    This left me rather cold. Definitely potential though. With a little more time to mature they could be something special. I’ll check back in on the next album.


  3. Commented by: faust666

    What Dan said.


  4. Commented by: mike

    One of the albums of the year. All the hype and praise is deserved.


  5. Commented by: edgex

    The debut convinced me. Getting this one friday at the local shop. Grade-A shit, this. One of the few bands that give this whole thrash-revival thing a fresh spin.


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