REVOCATION – The Outer Ones

REVOCATION – The Outer Ones

Whether as Cryptic Warning (for a one album, "Sanity’s Aberration") since 2000 or as Revocation since 2006 this American outfit always served great seamless technical death/thrash concoction already progressive on Revocation’s second album "Existence Is Futile" which introduced me to them. The third installment "Chaos Of Forms" took the progression to such hights that the songwriting took a backseat to innovation and the subsequent self-titled and especially "Deathless" were great as their respective wholes rather than recognizable for songcraft, something that began to change with "Great Is Our Sin". "The Outer Ones" is supposed to complete this transition, whereby Revocation would harken back to the hooks that made "Empire Of The Obscene" and "Existence Is Futile" such memorable efforts.

Revocation’s frontman, David Davidson, said he wanted this to be the most death metal Revocation record and the mission is more than accomplished, although what he didn’t mention was copious black metal infusion to boot, pun intended. Increasingly progressive and heavier to previously untinkable levels yet with simultaneous light/dark ratio firmly in place, Revocation recall the New Zealander extremists Ulcerate in mastery. Indeed, this record is brutally heavy and extreme, taking your face and balls simultaneosly while neatly lobotimizing you in the process, to the extent that your first encounter is that of a racoon with a Sherman tank. Yet it is also incredibly catchy and melodic, with plenty of calmer passages in between the terror (i.e. whispers before guitar torrents), which you will gradually discover probably on your third spin. What David Davidson and Dan Gargiulo do with their vocals and guitars, Ashley Richard Pearson with his drumkit and Brett Bamberger with his bass has to be heard to be believed. Their acrobatics can be compared to Alkaloid, Obscura and Atheist but with much more firepower, Revocation seemingly waging a war on music industry by sheer brutality of the output, in the age of increasingly plastic and lifeless musical chart domination.

Already the opener "Of Unworldly Origin" sets up the death metal mood in a Cannibal Corpse/Obituary/Monstrosity fashion with a Mercyful Fate twist, a sweet melodic solo atop a Nevermore rhythm, Davidson barking out Lovecraft-ian "don’t mess with magic or pay the price" lyricism, with a definite melodeath end a’la The Black Dahlia Murder. "That Which Consumes All Things" showcases soon-to-be-classic drumwork in a Misery Signals meets Machine Head/Immolation riffing topped with excellent melodic latter Death solo (a most frequent occurance on this disc) as lyrically cosmic entity devours and destroys all, the song ending with a Sepultura "Territory" drum pattern followed by the most satysfying breakdown on the album. "Blood Atonement" leans closer to "Chaos Of Forms" album for a melodic progressive Decrepit Birth/Obscura/Atheist/Pestilence tech death with some dissonant Deathspell Omega pinch harmonics, while the brutal "Fathomless Catacombs" opens with a thrashfest then introduces Alkaloid, Tool and Opeth elements with some ferocious black metal a’la Emperor, Revocation freely expanding on the jazzy progressive death of Alkaloid and syncopated Meshuggah/Fear Factory math metal on the title track, heavily leaning on Chuck Schuldiner’s "Symbolic" in terms of melody and skill for the most impressive solo.

Halfway through the disc, Revocation emphasizes the melody again with Megadeth-ian and Gorguts/Immolation riffs and polyrhythmic experimentation (Veritas) that culminates with the instrumental "Ex Nihilo", highly reminiscent of the "Existence Is Futile" days. The Bostonians save the best almost for last with arguably their most perfect song ever, "Luciferous" a type of Morbid Angel "Sworn To Black" bordering on black metal Dimmu Borgir, lyrically the Biblical fall of man through perspective of every side without taking sides, serpent freeing the slaves yet "guiding us to the darkness" with Adam and Eve crying "Heavenly Father, what have we done?", as the track veers off into some gargantuan genuine black metal laced with hard core/punk. Not surprisingly, the closer, "A Starless Darkness" is so liberally latter Death (think "Perennial Quest"), by the time the solo appears you’ll swear Chuck Schuldiner rose from the dead for a special appearance, Revocation melding it with early Machine Head riffing (similarly to "Blood Atonement") and a direct quote from Mastodon’s "Blood Mountain", and, as a slow Nevermore-like sludgy groove fades out you have no doubt Revocation easily created their magnum opus.

I have to say that there probably isn’t another metal record this intense while simultaneously memorable this year, as "The Outer Ones" contains 0.00% of flaws or mistakes. If you’re a tech death/thrash afficionado and you don’t mind some serious black metal influence mixed in for definitely a good measure you can’t go wrong as this is a band in its top form. This is an album even Revocation themselves may end up having a hard time topping but time will tell if this was their peak or merely the beginning of even greater things to come. A reviewer on Encyclopedia Metallum called in "a literal monster" and right they were for that’s exactly what "The Outer Ones" is.