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Chaos to Forms - 85%

Odovacar, February 20th, 2012

It’s tough to be a metal band in 2012. Not only does one have to contend with piracy, a shrinking music industry, and a crowded pond filled with the scum of other metal bands, but one has to be able to stand out musically. Some bands take the safe route and pay tribute to their heroes, often blurring the line between cover band and plagiarism. Other bands take what they love and mix in other genres of music. Revocation takes the thrash metal backbone, throws on a bit of death and sprinkles in some progressive elements to stand out from everyone else.

When cobbling together more than one genre, you invariably end up sounding like several other bands. That’s not always a bad thing; it’s interesting to see which bands are allowed to influence the music. For Revocation, they give a nod to plenty of bands, yet allow the music to be its own entity with catchy, aggressive riffs and solid songwriting. The beginning to “The Watchers” sounds like a B-side to Atheist with keyboards (around 3:15) that sound like that they belong on a Deep Purple record, followed by some tasty cowbell and a blistering neo-classical lead to close out the track.

The sounds of progressive metal become evident on tracks like “Dissolution Ritual” starting with a very prog-riff that goes into a smooth and relaxing lead, contrasting with the anthemic chorus around the 1:51 mark and ending with an acoustic fade-out. They really slam the progressive and thrash elements together on “Dethroned” that sounds a bit like a Dream Theater track with less meandering. Which is pretty surprising, for all of the styles that Revocation throws into their songs, they keep it under five minutes and to the point. I’m a fan of longer tracks, but some bands don’t know how to make them interesting and thankfully Revocation knows their limits on how long a track should be.

For all of the bands and styles represented on this album, I think that the influence of Megadeth is the most noticeable. It sounds like Chaos to Forms could have been an album written between So Far, So Good…So What! and Rust in Peace. While Chaos to Forms doesn’t sound explicitly like those aforementioned albums, it carries traits of what Megadeth was known for: straight-forward thrash riffs with lead flourishes (“Cradle Robber”) and ripping leads that pull heavily from the pentatonic and blues family of scales (“Cretin” and “No Funeral”). I don’t think that Mustaine could ever write a song like “Harlot” – anthemic, mosh-pit-ready-thrash metal until the funky bass and 70s-porno-wah guitar hit the ears near the end. That is something I love about this band, they know how to thrash with the best of them and are not afraid to take some very unorthodox chances with the song.

Which is interesting, considering that their previous album, Existence is Futile, is a more straightforward thrash metal record showing off the virtuosic talents of lead guitarist, David Davidson. Perhaps since it was their major label debut they decided to play it safe and after getting the praise for that album, decided to really let their influences be noticed on their musical sleeves.

For all the hardships that face a band nowadays, I think that Revocation will be able to survive, especially since they’re garnering attention on major tours. If you enjoy the finer things in life, such as thrash and death metal, and some funky bass, then you owe it to yourself to enjoy Chaos to Form.

Originally posted on Teeth of the Divine.