Revocation – Great Is Our Sin


Artist

Album

Great Is Our Sin

Label

Metal Blade Records

Year

2016

For Fans Of

High On Fire, The Black Dahlia Murder, Havok.

Summary

Another stunning ascent up Riff Mountain.

Rating

90 / 100

Now more than ever, it’s easy to get hung up on the interminable drama and bullshit that comes hand in hand with alternative music. Metal, as a musical genre and cultural phenomenon in of itself, is certainly no exception to this predicament. But every few years, a band will emerge triumphantly and remind everyone how things should be done. In this reviewer’s humble opinion, Massachusetts shredders Revocation are one such band among a very precious few, who play metal how it should be played.

On past releases like 2012’s ‘Teratogenesis’ EP and their stellar self-titled album from 2013, the Boston group executed a perfect blend of death metal’s technicality and the unadulterated rage of thrash. While their Metal Blade debut, 2014’s ‘Deathless’, may have felt slightly safe and unimaginative to some, their newest record and sixth overall, ‘Great Is Our Sin’, finds Revocation in the finest form of their career; a primal and savage collective, champing at the bit and gnashing their teeth at the world.

Time has done nothing to temper the aggression of lead guitarist, songwriter, and vocalist David Davidson. Every track on ‘Great Is Our Sin’ positively brims with outward expressions of fury, abhorrence, and discontent. Lyrically, this record finds Davidson stretching his storytelling into the realms of a concept album, with tracks like ‘Crumbling Imperium’ and the fantastic ‘Monolithic Ignorance’ acting as cautionary tales of humanity’s penchant for violence, destruction, and evil deeds. While ‘Theatre of Horror’ and ‘Communion’ play to the band’s inner strengths, with rapid-fire drum blasts, harsh vocal sprays and mind-bending solos on offer.

But it’s the second half of the record that truly shines and sets ‘Great Is Our Sin’ apart as the heaviest and darkest record in Revocation’s back catalogue. After cleansing the listener’s palette with the wonderfully melodic instrumental ‘The Exaltation’— which sounds like Davidson & co are just jamming along, slamming down infectious riff after infectious riff — we’re graced with one of the longest cuts in the form of ‘Profanum Vulgus’. As the name suggests, this song is not for the faint of heart. Davidson’s vocals drop into a deep, guttural register, primed to match the walls of the austere guitar riffage, viciously circling around some flashy lead moments before jumping headfirst into an epic, chorus bridge section that would make Mastodon green with envy.

With some restrained, progressive leanings on the plaintive ‘Copernican Heresy’, ‘Great Is Our Sin’ transitions into full-blown kinetic violence on the gargantuan ‘Only The Spineless Survive’, which marches along like the sound of a thousand death-knells ringing for the end — nothing but elegiac riff breaks, galloping rhythms and precise bursts of double kick fury. Seriously, dial up around the three-minute mark on this track, wait for that blistering solo to come to a rousing finish, and then let the massive Pantera-esque sonic beat-down wash all over you. Closer ‘Cleaving Giants of Ice’ provides a fitting and melancholic send off, slowing things down with deft harmonic touches and choral chants worthy of a Ghost B.C. psalm.

Conclusion

If you were to construct a Venn diagram for an accurate description of Revocation, you would find the band occupying a space in the exact centre of circles representing ‘Precision’, ‘Efficacy’ and ‘Talent’. Revocation are the definitive no-frills metal band, capable of appealing to the long-hair diehards, but also the transient, occasional head banger. ‘Great Is Our Sin’ stands as the band’s finest achievement, with great songwriting and plenty of progressive flirtations, with just the right mix of technical proficiency and thrash urgency. If you didn’t already have that battle jacket ready for war, now would be a perfect time.

Tracklisting

  1. Arbiters of the Apocalypse
  2. Theatre of Horror
  3. Monolithic Ignorance
  4. Crumbling Imperium
  5. Communion
  6. The Exaltation
  7. Profanum Vulgus
  8. Copernican Heresy
  9. Only the Spineless Survive
  10. Cleaving Giants of Ice
  11. Altar of Sacrifice

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