An album of intelligent design, musical and technical prowess, and one that captures the zeitgeist…
Cast out by Metal Blade Records on 22 July 2016 and adjudicated by Judge Jason Guest
Amongst their cavalcade of complex riffs, chords and rhythms and intricately woven structures, whether it be a time-signature-shifting instrumental, an acoustic intro, a funky slap bass groove or a jazz-tinged passage, Boston’s Revocation have always had a few surprises up their tattooed sleeve. Across their first five albums, this band has continue to explore their craft with as much intensity as creativity and as much determination as success. Bedded down with an array of rapid riffs, daring rhythm patterns, high-speed solos (with the occasional whammy bar abuse bringing much joy), jarring harmonies and amphetamine-charged drumming, this is a collection of musicians for whom technique is no master but their servant. It’s also a band for whom the phrase “more of the same” means so much more than it implies.
Technically, Revocation’s instrumental virtuosity has again shifted ever higher: the riffs are complex and sophisticated and never lose their groove; the lead work is fierce and passionate: and the drum-work of new addition Ash Pearson (ex-3 Inches of Blood) is outstanding, his intensity as impressive as his diversity. And their combined technical ability is again matched by the song-writing skills. While thrash and death are again gleefully gorged upon, melody (‘Arbiters Of The Apocalypse’) and aggression (‘Communion’ and ‘Copernican Heresy’) are balanced with the more elaborate prog elements that the band have been continually exploring and exploiting during their decade-long career (‘Crumbling Imperium’). With such dexterity on display, it seems only fitting that Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth, for those born and living in a cave) makes an appearance on the instrumental ‘Exaltation’.
With a title that refers to Charles Darwin’s quote, “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin”, vocalist/guitarist David Davidson has chosen a theme much befitting of our times. Corrupt politicians and crooked lawmakers (‘Only The Spineless Survive’), public execution in medieval times (‘Theatre Of Horror’ – reality TV being the contemporary incarnation, perhaps?), climate change (‘Cleaving The Giants Of Ice’) and the reverence of ignorance as aspiration (‘Monolithic Ignorance’) all get torn to shreds. And so, a track about ritualistic sacrifice for a mythical higher cause, what better way to finally finish of this fiendish album than with a cover of Slayer’s ‘Altar Of Sacrifice’? Poignant and perceptive.
Revocation have again given us “more of the same”, more of the same technical expertise, more of the same complicated and sophisticated song structures, more of the same insightful themes, and more of the same of the head-on collision between thrash and death metal that will have audiences stroking their chins in deep thought while slamming into each other in a crazed moshpit. Great Is Our Sin is a marvellously complex album of intelligent design and musical and technical prowess and one that captures the zeitgeist perfectly. Y’know, “more of the same”.
- Read MR’s interview with Dave Davidson here
8 out of 10
- Arbiters Of The Apocalypse
- Theatre Of Horror
- Monolithic Ignorance
- Crumbling Imperium
- The Exaltation
- Profanum Vulgus
- Copernican Heresy
- Only The Spineless Survive
- Cleaving The Giants Of Ice
- Altar Of Sacrifice