Released: 2013, Relapse Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Boston’s Revocation recall a time before The Black Album, before Youthanasia, before the technical thrash metal of the mid-late ‘80s “matured” – or went soft, call it whatever you want. Granted, there are no shortage of bands taking that approach these days, but Revocation revel more in the unbridled spirit and aggression of the era as opposed to merely being reverential or playing hero worship karaoke.
As was the case with their previous albums and last year's Scion/AV-released EP Tetrogenesis, Revocation's self-titled fourth full-length is all about dueling riffs, breakneck tempo changes and shredding leadwork – and lots of it. The more complex and challenging, the better, seems to be their mantra, though within reason.
Revocation do, however, have the good sense not to go too overboard – the wank-tastic, self-explanatory instrumental “Spastic” excepting. Even on the more tumultuous tracks, like “The Gift You Gave,” the band match their chops with solid songsmanship and toss in a few catchy odds and ends to keep things centered, as well as keep you on your toes.
“Arch Fiend,” for example, adds a sudden acoustic break near the end. “Numbing Agents” and “Invidious” bring a bit of hardcore muscle into the mix – and, yes, that is a splash of banjo on “Invidious” as well. The topical “Fracked” is built around a hulking groove and new bassist Brett Bamberger's thumping bass.
What Revocation really have going for them is that they don't sound like anyone else. They might draw influences from Exodus, Testament, Metallica or Megadeth, but their overall sound is all their own. Indeed, David Davidson's sinister vocals throughout, not to mention Phil Dubois' frequent blast beat fits, give the band a death metally edge that most “rethrash” won't go near. But it's a nice, distinctive touch.