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Revenge Prevails - Habitats - 89%

Edmund Sackbauer, May 3rd, 2021
Written based on this version: 2020, CD, Independent (Limited edition)

Having been formed in 2008 in Sweden Revenge Prevails is an interesting act combining death and black metal with some slightly avantgarde like tendencies. Compared to a lot of other similar bands the balance of black and death influences is pretty equal, something that is also reflected within the vocal department where classic blackened snarling is accompanied by some growly passages and even a few female vocals. “Habitats” is their third full length and offers a lot of variety over more than 42 minutes of playing time.

Revenge Prevails innate skill in infusing disparate sounds into a cohesive whole in such a way that the band seamlessly switches up aesthetics, melodies, and influences and create something new within one single track. Each song is competently written, following certain patterns, but the band always has an eye on the bigger picture. Small interludes, tempo changes and slightly uncommon harmonies are used to shake things up a bit and leave the trodden paths. The music is pretty traditional at its core, harking back to some Scandinavian classics in the first place. There are enough punishing blast-beats and cold riffs to satisfy even the most jaded of blackened souls – but the album’s template offers a bit more than that. There are patterns which show a more introverted and experimental sensibility, which is closer to the unorthodox attitude of some more avantgarde influenced acts.

The employing of tremolo pickings among other simple but effective techniques is something that is used to keep the intensity high, and the guys really set the tone of the music with their impeccable songwriting and masterful balance of melody and subtle aggression. The melodies are often weird and haunting, but sometimes also have a more relaxed and slightly melancholic nature. The technical skills of the members is out of discussion, and some of the passages can get a bit sophisticated. Some of the sections come across as being a bit chaotic and there are some prog-like turns, but looking at the bigger picture everything makes sense. Special mention needs to go out to the melodies provided by the lead guitar, which are absolutely gripping in some places.

Songs like “So many Wounds” offer some laid-back and dream-like sequences, but the next attack waits just around the corner. The atmosphere of this record is thick and really engrossing. The harmonies are captivating and fascinating and nearly each song has memorable hooks and sweeping harmonies. There are a lot of small details making the instrumentation a bit more sophisticated than what can be found on a lot of similar records, but overall the songs are easily enjoyable from the first spin onwards. The band members have a clear idea when it comes to songwriting as each track has a very unique structure with trademark hooks and often memorable vocal parts.

The production is pretty dynamic and quite modern. That being said there is just enough grit and dirt left in the mix to make the music interesting enough for fans of more traditional death/black metal as well. The slightly synthetic undertone fits the somehow industrial-like nature and overall atmosphere of “Habitats”. Overall this album has been a very pleasant surprise and I urge every open-minded black/death metal fan to check this one out.