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Revocation - Existence Is Futile - 80%

ThrashManiacAYD, October 16th, 2009

It's easy to buy affection these days. Boston’s technical death/thrash metallers Revocation may be signed to Relapse Records, as high a sign of inherent quality as any other label out there, but utilising a promo photo with the three members sporting Decrepit Birth, Dark Angel and Atheist t-shirts is guaranteed to pique the interest of someone like myself. It turns out too that imagining a combination of those three bands together will go some way to explain the sound of Revocation.

You have your speedy, thrashing tempos ala Dark Angel in songs like "Deathonomics", bass-heavy chunky death metal ala Decrepit Birth and Obscura in the likes of "Existence Is Futile" all resting atop the style of technical death metal Atheist foundered (and which Obscura play to this day) as opposed to the crushing heaviness of a band like Cryptopsy. That other archetypal Relapse band, Dying Fetus, are present in the mixture too, influencing the complex guitar patterns to be found even if Revocation have resisted the temptation for the incessant blast the Fetus have a tendency for. Perhaps summing up best the quirky nature of many riffs present right across the album, "The Brain Scramblers" had me scratching my head upon my first listen where I might have heard that opening riff before. After more head scratching my guess is the similarity lies against that DM classic, No Doubt's "Just A Girl" (compare for yourself - Revocation vs No Doubt).

As one has come to expect time and time again from a Relapse band, the musicianship is tighter than a duck's arse in the flowing, bounding riffs of "Across Forests And Fjords" where the band have the very real ability to change direction on a sixpence. No studio cover-ups here as present in most brutal-deathcore stuff I have heard of late that's for sure. Combined with the typical Relapse production job - clear, audible, concise and biting - Revocation have got a second album here that could not fail to interest those of a technical death metal disposition. Given the presence of just one guitar the bass lines of Anthony Buda rise out of the rhythmic flow in "Dismantle The Dictator" like few manage in death metal this side of Alex Webster and Steve DiGiorgio whilst the drumming of Phil Dubois-Coyne reminds me greatly of that on Decrepit Birth's "Diminishing Between Worlds" last year; a little too triggered on the kicks but maintaining some excellent fills and touches on his percussion elements.

Considering the recent excellent works of many of those mentioned in this review Revocation are entering into a tough field of technically proficient death metal but on the evidence of "Existence Is Futile" they have enough strength to hold their own against the competition with no doubt (pun alert) more to come in the future.

Originally written for Rockfreaks.net