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Great is their work - 93%

Andreas_Hansen, April 15th, 2018

Revocation is one of these modern thrash metal bands that need to be closely followed since it's the kind of bands to always improve themselves, as they offer something more and more interesting as they release their albums. Less than two years after the monstrous "Deathless", the four technical thrash metal masters come back with a 47-minute-long sixth album which shows that these Americans still are gutsy. We note some interesting things that will distinguish this album from the previous ones: first of all, the departure of the almost-iconic Phil Dubois-Coyne, then a much hearable bass sound, a more frequent apparition of clean singing and a bigger diversity in the songwriting.

"Great is Our Sin" - words that come from the ending of one of Darwin's quotes about the human behavior - instantly announces the tone and the ideas of the album. Because this time, the band play the ecologist card! Or rather the engaged one. This album's lyrics were influenced by Dave's reflections on mankind and the waste he's able to do in this particular period of History. It's not a concept album, though: a lot of ideas are bonded together, but there isn't a specific line draw all along. The album deals with human madness through a religious, political and corruptive aspect. "Only the Spineless Survive" deals with the eternal "religion vs science" war and "Theater of Horror" about executions in the Middle-Ages. To resume, a lot of different messages that we can interpret as we want.

First of all, the visual aspect of the album (the artwork) keeps this same sober typography that we already found of the "Deathless" art. Here it is maybe a bit too much sober since the title and the band's name fade away behind the colors of the artwork, so much that we don't see them very easily. But I will no longer talk about the artwork and its defaults because it would be silly to judge an album on its art - which was designed by Dave's personal tattoo artist!

Usually, when we talk about Revocation, the first thing that would come into our mind would be the amazingly technical guitar skills that show the musicians all along the disc. But not this time! Not because it's less important, but because there is a bigger event that happened to the band to comes first. In fact, the iconic drummer and co-founder of the band Phil Dubois-Coyne left the band, making Dave the only founder member remaining. Phil was replaced by Ash Pearson and we instantly feel the difference between both. The play of the newcomer is much more aggressive and dynamic than its predecessor. For instance, he doesn't hesitate to abuse of blast beats at some parts, highlighting more the death metal side of the band. The best examples would be "Communion", in which the drum set is really unstable from the very beginning, or "Monolithic Ignorance".

Now let's talk about the guitars. I won't waste any time telling you how technical Revocation is, everyone has now understood that Dave Davidson is a guitar virtuoso that we could put into the hall of fame of the "modern" guitar heroes. Dave handles his instrument to serve us the most beautiful riffs and chords possible. Beautiful, but also efficient: quite often the strongest riffs in the album are those who carry on the vocal parts like after the verses, without letting us a single instant of calm. This efficient structure, used in order to blow us away, is found in many songs: "Only the Spineless Survive", "Profanum Vulgus", "Communion", "Crumbling Imperium", "Theater of Horror", and "Arbiters of the Apocalypse".

The album starts with the song "Arbiters of the Apocalypse", a quite efficient opener in which everything goes fast and aggressive without being loud like if the band wanted to do properly their job without making waves. The very first riff, really heavy, announces how the upcoming album will sound like. This impression of heaviness is reinforced by a very sustained drum set that gives to the song an impression of being a colossus.

Moreover, the album has more clean vocals than ever and this characteristic has become a unique instrument that fully distinguishes itself from the rest of the instrumental set. Songs with a notable clean vocal part might include songs like "Arbiters of the Apocalypse", "Monolithic Ignorance", "Profanum Vulgus", "Only the Spineless Survive" and "Cleaving Giants of Ice".

In conclusion, "Great is Our Sin" is a masterpiece and impresses by its technicity and by its originality: each song is independent and could appear in any previous Revocation albums so much they are diversified. We have in it mid-tempo songs with heavy riffs, high-tempo dynamic and speed songs and others with just a bunch of beautiful melodies. The album even has its own instrumental, maybe a bit too short. In a nutshell, it summarizes very well the whole career of the band.

"If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin" (Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle)

Originally written in French for Tunes of Steel on the 25th of October 2016.