Unique is not an easy thing to be. No matter what the circumstance or situation, to find something unique can be pretty special. Being unique is especially hard when it comes to music. In an age where everything has been done, redone, copied, stolen, remixed, or sampled, being unique in the music business is a marvel. Unique does not always translate in to good. Unique also does not always mean original. Take Revocation for example. In the vast forest of death and thrash metal bands, Revocation has carved themselves a notch that is somewhere in between the two genres. The band is set to release its fifth full length release, “Deathless,” October 14, 2014.
Hit play on “Deathless” and you know it is a Revocation record. It starts off with a bang (as usual) with ‘A Debt Owed to the Grave.’ Dave Davidson’s guitar playing and vocals are unmistakable. The track that really sucks you into the album though is track two, the title track. The way the melody is sprinkled in amongst the precision riffing, along with the sing/yell along chorus, you can’t help but smile while you bang your head. ‘Labyrinth of Eyes’ gets you again with not only the melody, but its utter heaviness, especially towards the end. ‘Madness Opus’ brings down the tempo a touch, but definitely not the heavy. It packs a thick groove and one of Davidson’s many fantastic solos.
Brett Bamberger (bass / vocals) and Phil Dubois (drums) get their gallop back on as ‘Scorched Earth Policy’ kicks things back up. Dubois adds some sweet jazz licks in for good measure during the bridge. Both this track and the next, ‘The Blackest Reaches,’ have melodies that remind me of something off of the new The Contortionist or Cynic records, along with a Vai-esque solo on the latter. ‘The Fix’ blows past you next. It is a blistering example of the tech death/thrash that Revocation is known for. ‘United in Helotry’ is a windmill headbanging swirler.
Davidson delivers another Steve Vai flavored solo, while Dan Gargiulo (guitars / vocals) precision riffs flow along underneath. The obligatory instrumental, ‘Apex,’ like most of the tracks on the album, has a melody that grabs hold of you and you can’t help but mosh. “Deathless” closes out with ‘Witch Trials.’ This track starts with more of those The Contortionist or Cynic-like melodies, mixed Revocation’s death thrash sensibilities, finally culminating in another brilliant Dave Davidson guitar solo.
“Deathless” is Revocation’s first album on new label Metal Blade Records, and it is a great start to their relationship. It is more straight forward, but still technical, and a hell of a lot more fun tech death/thrash record than any other band could possibly produce. But that’s what makes Revocation unique, isn’t it? The ability to mix old and new, familiar and fresh, and make you get into their music like you have heard it before, even though you have not. That is unique, and that is Revocation.