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In lieu of dwelling on my lukewarm reaction to Revocation's latest, eponymous full-length, I went back to check out last year's Scion A/V freebie Teratogenesis, a 5-track EP that presumably showcased some of the Mass band's best work, according to what I've read. What is it about this A/V format that brings out such good in those who choose to use it? Just about every one of these short-players I've listened through has been money: Enslaved, Immolation, Wormrot, and sure enough, this band from my own backyard delivers on their own offering. What instantly appealed to me about the five tracks here was the tighter sense of songwriting scale, reliant on strong and memorable riffing structures moreso than trying to knock over the listener with the band's prowess and cluttered, claustrophobic riff patterns. These tunes don't bite off more than the band can chew, and apart from my usual disinterest in the vocals, there are at least two songs here which I'd gladly number among the best in their full body of work.
"The Grip Tightens" is one such case, an onslaught of melodic and catchy riffing which bridges the band's US thrash influences with their Swedish melodeath counterparts. One of the guitar progressions here pre-chorus is a bit generic and predictable, but once they hit the mood of that chorus it's even easy to forgive Davidson's barking, which to be fair is stronger and NASTIER sounding here than on several of their full-length efforts. They've even got a breakdown in there for all you At the Gates/Black Dahlia Murder fans, and as usual the lead sequence is extremely well dispensed. Another contender is "Maniacally Unleashed" a slightly tech thrashing beast in which the opening notes just pop into you like a scalpel, and then it picks up into an even more intense piece with blasting, wailing micro-solos and a great bridge. The riffs here are note-for-note superior to anything off their latest album (Revocation s/t), though I didn't love the vocals. I wasn't as convinced with the other tracks, but "Spurn the Outstretched Hand" and "Bound by Desire" were at least as solid as much of the material on Chaos of Forms; the latter bordering on a tech black/death hybrid with lots of blasting and tremolo melodies (but not exemplary for the style).
Production here is comparable to the records sandwiching it, pretty dry and effective without a lot of effects saucing up the guitars where unnecessary. This was also a nice place to introduce new bassist Bramberger, who does run rampant at a few opportunities, but often falls behind some of the rhythm guitars in "Spurt the Outstretched Hand" or "The Grip Tightens" to the degree that you forget he's even there. Drums are intense and admittedly, Dave's vocals are about half on fire and half their debilitating selves (so much less compelling than the music that they can seem obstructive). The few, cleaner, backing lines add a nice, numbing effect to the choruses without lapsing into shitty mallcore like Killswitch Engage. Lyrics remind me of Immolation or Suffocation, political in scope but packed with a few instances of death metal grandeur and gore, a bit hard to chew when you realize these are East Coasters who probably get breakfast at Dunkin' Donuts (or your local equivalent). But, hey, suspension of disbelief, right? Teratogenesis is pretty damn solid, and you cannot beat the price. Nothing amazing, but a great way to 'sample' the band, and if you like this you'll want to track down their sophomore Existence is Futile with haste.
Revocation has been a band who I thought never got enough credit. They’ve put out exceptional releases for a few years now and keep getting better with each and every release. Last year, Scion A/V put out a free Revocation EP titled “Teratogenesis”. This is definitely Revocation’s best written material to date and should be the key release for the quartet from Boston, MA.
Lead guitarist and vocalist David Davidson plays some memorable solos and riffs in this record. He was voted ‘the best guitarist of modern metal’ on a little segment on metalsucks.net and he definitely shows his talents. The first track of the EP is "The Grip Tightens". This song is fast, thrashy, and compelling, and is a perfect start for the EP. The lyrics are great, too. That’s another thing, this EP has some very well-written lyrics and Davidson’s unique vocals are very clear, which have improved as well. The riffs are very catchy and the music and lyrics are both written by Davidson. There is a solo performed by rhythm guitarist/vocalist Dan Gargiulo and an ending solo performed by Davidson.
The second track, “Spurn the Outstretched Hand”, contains music written by Davidson and lyrics written by bassist Anthony Buda. Buda left the band after the release of “Teratogenesis” and was replaced by Brett Bamberger. This song has the addition of vocal work from rhythm guitarist Dan Gargiulo. He and Davidson give great vocal performances throughout and also excellent guitar performances. This song also has the trash elements to it and is similar to the first with great riffs that will get stuck in your head for days and a solo that will melt faces. The solo is done by Davidson.
The third song, “Maniacally Unleashed”, is written by Gargiulo and lyrics written by former bassist Buda. This song starts thrashy like the previous two and is heavier than them as well. The bass is more detectable in this song and the song slows down near the end before another epic solo from Davidson. This song and the fourth titled “Teratogenesis” are both more death metal-sounding than thrash. They are not straight death metal though, as the thrash elements still remain. These two tracks are probably the easiest to detect the bass on. This is a very guitar-dominated record, so the bass is not easily heard throughout. It’s nice to hear the bass after a couple songs. The music and lyrics are both written by Davidson for the fourth track.
Now to the last song. “Bound by Desire” is easily the best written Revocation song in their career, in my opinion at least. The music is written by Davidson and lyrics by Buda again. In this song you will be introduced to riffs and vocals done by Davidson and Gaugiulo, and then you reach the most memorable moments of the EP. For nearly three solid minutes, you will be given one of the catchiest riffs ever and a couple of face-melting solos. The first solo is performed by Gargiulo and the second by Davidson. This song is excellently written all around. The guitars, vocals, bass, drums: everything is pure magnificence. I had the pleasure of seeing Revocation live recently and was blown away by this song. Although the whole EP is worth picking up (it’s free, by the way), this song is definitely the most memorable.
You may have noticed I haven’t mentioned the percussion performance yet. It was solid and drummer Phil Dubois-Coyne did a great job. They were mixed very well and the control and speed is exceptional. With such a guitar-dominated EP, it’s often hard to pay attention to anything else.
Revocation has their best written material in this treat from Scion A/V and should be the release to launch this band to new levels. This was the best EP of 2012, and we can look forward to a full length in 2013. On a side note, these guys are excellent live and put on a hell of a show, so be sure to check them out if they hit your city. Pick up “Teratogenesis” right away. It’s free, it’s awesome, and is the best Revocation yet.
Thanks to Jonas a.k.a. UMUR and the list of the best free and legal metal music on the MMA forum, I've discovered Revocation and their newest ep, "Teratogenesis". Yep, it is released for free and it's great. What a treat! A fast, furious, and adventurous ride. A thrashy, deathly, hair-scorching bomb blast. A teratogenic roller coaster it is.
"Teratogenesis" is one of those modern death/thrash metal albums that you're tempted to call progressive, but that's not really the case. Every genre can be original to some extent without necessarily being "progressive". The music here is a modern-sounding, groovy, technical thrash metal with semi-death/semi-thrash vocals that's a little bit reminiscent of metalcore screaming. The album boasts quite unrestrained songwriting within the scope of the genre with an intriguing diversity of moods and, most of all, an excellent flow. Besides classic thrash metal riffs, the band interspersed the music with clever tech-death themes, cool melodic solos, and quite elaborate variations that keep your attention riveted throughout.
I haven't heard any of Revocation's full-length albums, but I'm pretty sure that calling "Teratogenesis" their showpiece wouldn't be an exaggeration. It's an extremely enjoyable piece of technical death/thrash metal that combines tradition with modernity. Essential to all thrash metal fans.
Tracks by ratings: 9/10[fantastic]: The Grip Tightens || 8/10[great]: Bound by Desire; Spurn the Outstretched Hand; Maniacally Unleashed; Teratogenesis || OVERALL = 82/100
-- Originally written for Metal Music Archives [www.metalmusicarchives.com] --
Modern day technical death metal tends to disappoint en masse, few bands breaking a discernable mould or bringing a decent hand to the table. Revocation, flattening the competition in a rather stale scene, aren’t exactly the masters their dreamy fan base like to imagine. Rather, a backdrop of mediocrity displayed by their peers enhances the band’s image, the latter reaping the benefits. Bringing a simple idea of technical, cohesive and riff laden death metal, Revocation are toppling the competition because they’re not trying as hard as possible to be the most technical band to date. While we find other bands like the Faceless being praised for their experimentation and ability to step outside the box, when in reality they’re recycling ideas pioneered by other musicians and trying to pass them off as fresh and their own, Revocation don’t try to delude their audience. Straightforward technical death metal with a heavy thrash undertone, that’s all there is to be found on their newest EP Teratogenesis, and while it’s not ideal, it seems to be the best on offer right now.
One thing Revocation are always commended for is their guitar work. Their guitarist and vocalist, David Davidson (you can’t make this stuff up), is the driving force behind the music, his fantastic 'shredding' abilities and flair for creating groovy, memorable riffs is one of the main reasons the band stand so high above the crowd. Rather than falling into monotony like some metal albums seem to do, the consistent solos and engaging variety of his playing style keeps you hooked, at least enough to not be bored at any point during the EP’s twenty-one minute run time. As mentioned before, this album isn’t just death metal, but has some serious thrash metal undertones shining through; bringing forth edgy sections of blistering guitar solos and groove-oriented drumbeats among the dissonant death metal riffs and blast beats. The bass seems to live a hideously shadowed life underneath Davidson’s riffs and frequent soloing, but Phil Dubois-Coyne’s drumming manages to keeps its head above water.
Vocally, the band also tend to make the most of their duel genre inflexion, tending to utilize both guttural sounding vocal techniques as well as a more thrash derivative harsh shouting style. David Davidson still on lead vocal duties, with their former vocalist and bassist Anthony Buda out of the band, new bassist Brett Ramberger has taken over Buda vocally too, as well as Dan Gargiulo, whom the band recruited as an extra guitar player for their previous album, Chaos of Forms. Three vocalists may seem like overkill, but the band use vocals appropriately and effectively on this EP, even with minor sections of clean vocals not outstaying their welcome.
The music here is as tight as ever, the band demonstrating great musicianship and an obvious knack for what they do. While the genre as a whole seems to not be going anywhere new and is crumbling under its own weight, Revocation do a good job of keeping relevant in the modern day metal scene. Their blend of death and thrash metal is something of a beast that shows up all the modern metal bands that shoot aimlessly at the technical and progressive metal cesspool that’s stagnating. If this EP is a any indication of what to come, Revocation’s next album has solid groundwork set out for it and is something to look forward to.
This EP is a bit less bluesy, jazz-esque, a bit more keen on putting the progressive nuances into the metal riffage itself; and I am not opposed to that. It's a smidge more death metal than previous efforts, and very consistently good; which is a problem I've had regarding this band. All of their previous material has had too much filler, and the blues/jazz thing seemed a bit forced from time to time.
Here, you can hear influences such as later Death and Atheist, there is lots of ornate thrash riffs, and bass parts that really fill out the music. Manically Unleashed has some seriously great riffage, great drum switch-ups/fills and absolutely killer guitar solo, the end of the song is a good example of where I think the band is heading, and I like this - the jazz and blues feel are there but toned down, and more genuine feeling. If they can put out a collection of songs that are as solid as this track, they will have a legitimate album.
Unfortunately, the end of the last track that seems to meander, and fails to punctuate what is being done, it lacks punch, like filler tracks from before. I'm still not a fan of Davidson's yell-style thrash vocals, and there is a harmlessness to the songs. I can't really tell what it is that makes Revocation less lethal than they should be, but it's always been there.
This is how I look at this band and release: a serious band because they obviously have talent, and a unique sound, but they have yet to refine it to the point of being a genre leader. They have to be able to stop making parts of songs that feel forced, and consistently crank out high octane, high quality riffs. I look at this band as being a tier down from bands like Obscura, Death and Anata. It may be that Davidson is just a pure guitarist and not much of a song writer - I don't know. The Grip Tightens and Manically Unleashed are really good tracks, the other tracks have some level of the same issues, but they seem to be focusing on fixing them. Getting closer, but I'm curious as to what the next release will hold.