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While proto-doom/heavy metal has started to gain popularity in recent years thanks to outstanding releases such as Ghost‘s Opus Eponymous and the appearance of bands such as Jess and the Ancient Ones, Revelation has been dabbling in the old school since 1986. and Inner Harbor is the band’s seventh full length release.
I didn’t really know how far back in time Revelation would take but I was given a nice surprise as soon as the opening riffs of Inner Harbor greet me, bringing me back to the 60s or 70s. The fuzzy guitar tone and the melodies that the band has conjured has a nice old school flavour that is not unlike old school hard rock/heavy metal greats such as Deep Purple or Rainbow, and this definitely isn’t a bad thing. Vocalist John’s light and dreamy vocals are rather reminiscent of Papa Emeritus II, and quite quickly into the album the song progression and that rather haunting feel that the band emanates brings bands such as Ghost to mind also. Just check out the starting moments of Rebecca at the Well. The early doom style of Black Sabbath are also rather clear, not only with that slow pace and the heavy riffs, but also in the entire atmosphere that is conjured up in the music and that heavy bass presence of Bert. There are even slight stoner metal elements like on Terribilita, bringing records like Master of Reality to mind.
But rather than just indulging in old school proto-doom a la Black Sabbath, the band on Inner Harbor also incorporates some rather progressive elements as well. This is so on longer songs like the title track and Jones Falls, with the numerous different segments that the band easily goes into and out of, and also the slightly odd time signatures that are aplenty throughout the album. There are even some psychedelic elements on the album, with the usage of organs to reinforce the haunting and somewhat uneasy atmosphere on the album as well.
What really caught my attention on Inner Harbor though were the lead guitars of John, who manages to display versatility on his instrument throughout. The melodies that he pull out, and the techniques used such as the quirky lead guitars on Rebecca at the Well certainly manage to capture that old school feel of greats like Ritchie Blackmore and it is this, coupled with that mostly fuzzy guitar tone that makes Revelation such a charm.