Revocation - Great Is Our Sin CoverAnother summer, another album from Revocation. Though the technical death/thrash quartet missed their yearly appointment last year, a slight drop in momentum from Davidson & Co. was nothing to worry about, and after releasing three albums and an EP in four touring-heavy years, taking some time before Great Is Our Sin was probably a good call – though 2015 was dimmer for it. From a band that’s as much of an institution as any group this century could be, any new release is going to be big news, but it’s extra special for old Kronos, since Revocation albums are de facto milestones in my tenure at AMG. Three albums down, and I’m happy to say that my opinion of the band has yet to take a hit. 2014’s Deathless has stood the test of time despite my initial reservations about the slight shift in sound, and Great Is Our Sin is very much the logical follow-up to that record.

The stylized, atramentous riffing of Deathless makes its return, but is now reined in, serving songs rather than creating them. Single “Monolithic Ignorance” plays out like a Revocation cut infused with a cool dark energy. Pre-prechorus riffing makes the most of this novelty, made all the more effective by its transition into an odd-timed chorus that could have been ripped straight from Chaos of Forms – a combination of sonic references not uncommon over the course of the album.

Great Is Our Sin completely meets the varied expectations for a Revocation album; it has its speedy melodeath anthem, “Cleaving Giants of Ice” and its pummeling death number,”Only the Spineless Survive;” it has its social commentary in “Monolithic Ignorance” and “Copernican Heresy” and its quick prog-thrash sidestep in “The Exaltation.” And on top of all that, the album retains the most important part of the band’s identity; it’s fun. Tracks like “Crumbling Imperium” are as sinister as the band has ever been, but poke and jab rather than pummel. Davidson’s solos are filled with personality and prove both adventurous and oddly fitting – a feat not matched by Deathless, which had a few off-putting escapades.

Yet my appreciation for this album is slightly blunted. In many ways, Great Is Our Sin feels like a stagnation for the band, sort of a stepping stone between Revocation and Deathless rather than an expansion of the latter. With the exception of the plodding “Profanum Vulgus,” these songs are what we’ve come to expect, but they don’t quite feel dangerous like so many Revocation cuts before them. After a two-year wait, I really thought the band would have developed their sound more.

Revocation Band 2016

Newcomer Ash Pearson handles the kit quite well, and though he doesn’t shine quite as brightly as Phil Dubois-Coyne, unless you listen very closely you’ll barely notice a change, and the band’s rhythm section are still one of the best in the business, as the incredibly fast picking and precise drumming of “Only the Spineless Survive” demonstrates. Likewise, the guitars are as on point as ever, and while the riffing here is technical, Davidson and Gargiulo handle it with ease and never use it to showboat – after all, that’s what those winding solos are for.

You’ll see me whine and moan about the state of modern death metal all too often for anybody’s liking, and Revocation are most certainly an exception to the rule. But the band’s great strength isn’t that they’re better than whatever SoCal guttural garage group just signed to Unique Leader. They’re not just some great death metal band; they’re a great metal band, and their hybrid sound is both impressive and all their own. Great Is Our Sin isn’t a fantastic album, but it’s quite good, and in its wake, Revocation will still be one of the greatest metal bands active today.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 
5 | Format Reviewed: 276 kbps mp3
Label: 
Metal Blade Records
Websites: 
revocation.com | facebook.com/revocation
Releases Worldwide:
July 22nd, 2016

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  • AndySynn

    To my ears (and other senses, all 8 of them) the self-titled was a big disappointment… but other than that, Revocation have been gold. Gold I tell you!

    • Kronos

      I have to say that the self titled is about as good as this one. There are lots of little details on Revocation that are very clever.

      • AndySynn

        You don’t have to say that. Particularly since it’s wrong.

        • Boys, play nice.

          • AndySynn

            We are doing (I think). I’m hopeful that my comments here are interpreted in the manner of good-natured joshing, rather than pure assholery.

          • [not a Dr]

            I think that anyone trying to indulge in pure assholery here would fail because said assholery would be taken as a joke.

  • Alexandre Barata

    Although they always sound a little bit too close to a hybrid Deathcore/Modern DM for my safe spot, I admit that I like their albums pretty much!!! Still rocking a lot their last one (before this one obviously)

  • Tom Hardy

    Their other released song is better than this one. Having said that, I pre-ordered this and it’ll be my first album by the band. Dan’s AB writing trickled into this a bit, but you hear it in the other song that’s released.

    • Kronos

      I think you’d like Deathless.

      • Tom Hardy

        Thanks for the recco. Waiting for the album to arrive in the mail.

  • Blueberry Balls
    • Hulksteraus

      The Blueberry Unicorn strikes again!!

      • ferrousbeuller

        I read this as Blueberry Unicron… Either way, I think we can all agree, it’s awesome.

    • [not a Dr]

      Wouldn’t that be “horn up”? Singular?

  • SegaGenitals

    Looking forward to this. Waiting for the Revocation & Acrania co-headling tour…

  • Sharp-Blunt Boy

    Deathless was a marvelous record. Definitely going to check this out along with earlier discography, which i foolishly haven’t previously considered.

    However, spectacular use of atramentous. Tremendous and verbose wordsmithing to complement another cool review.

    • Luke_22

      Definitely get onto Existence is Futile & Chaos of Forms, but it’s all good.

      • Sharp-Blunt Boy

        I went back to come forwards: Chaos is a beast of an album, many thanks for the recommendation. I really like the thrash vibe, reminded me a bit of Exodus’ more recent output.

        The review nails it at 3.5 for this latest album. Still good by many measures, although inclusion of modern riffs, themes and sound palette don’t work quite as well – somehow smooths off the aggression and excitement from the edges.

  • Reese Burns

    Oh man I’m hyped for this one. I love all their releases, especially the self titled (which apparently lots of people don’t like?) and Deathless. If this is a progression from Deathless’ sound, I’ll be happy for sure.

    • Luke_22

      Funnily enough Chaos of Forms initially disappointed me even though it’s often regarded as their best. I’ve since grown to love it, but self-titled kicks arse and is their most underrated album. It has a nice raw edge to it imo and consistently great songs.

  • Luke_22

    Fucking love this band, they can do no wrong in my book. This isn’t their best work but still a damn fine album. Great review.

    • Jeremy Freeman

      Yeah that’s what I thought, takes a while to warm up to this one. But it’s good. Just as the reviewer said.

  • WhamBamSam

    I got a tiny whiff of the slight stagnation you’re describing in the tracks released thus far, but I adore Deathless and remain eager in my anticipation.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Nice review Kronos, though I think you seem to under mark their albums by 0.5…
    Revocation, Artificial Brain and Horrendous are the triumvirate of modern DM. Any album by these guys is a must have at the moment.

  • 517H

    Sweet review, dude. Love DD’s solos. He tells a story every time

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    One thing I love about these guys is their discography is so varied that arguments over their best record occur often and never reach solid conclusions. Personally thought Deathless was the band’s strongest outing yet. My issue with this is similar to yours stated however; this definitely feels more like a mish-mash of the last two records, moreso than a strict progression.

    No denying it is still a great damn time.

    • Kronos

      I think this is definitely their weakest outing, but it’s still a really solid album. Deathless has grown on me a lot, and it’s probably their most interesting work.

  • Mark Z

    Nice review and pretty much agree with everything here. The solos on this album are really great. I have to say although I obviously haven’t listened to this as much as Deathless, I think I might like this a tad more. It feels more consistent from beginning to end, whereas Deathless had some dull tracks I really didn’t care for (though the opening and closing tracks were both absolutely phenomenal – Witch Trials is in my top 5 Revocation songs ever). It seems like they’re using clean vocals more this time around along with more open-note melodies, which to me is an improvement from some of the dull death metal riffing that crept into Deathless at times.

  • mr noetol

    3.5 Seems too low for this album but still a well written review.

  • jersey devil

    I used to listen to this band a lot and liked them. But them I saw them live and, although they were pretty good, the singers voice sort of ruined it all. He has a very monotonous hardcore type shout that, at least live, really gets on your nerves. Other than that, I like their sound very much.

    • Kronos

      That’s odd because Davidson actually uses a tremendous diversity of vocal styles on the albums and when live. Maybe he was having an off night.

  • Nathan McCain

    Hey, I believe you meant to type “reined in” in the second paragraph there. Cheers!

  • junkyhead

    Have to listen to this one yet. That Teratogenesis EP is amazing, what a great piece of metal.

  • SegaGenitals

    I was prepared for disappointment initially after the less than perfect review… but thankfully this is a really solid album. The band continues to mature, guitar solos reaching new heights, and drumming which seems more restrained and emotive than prior efforts. GIOS is perhaps Revocation’s most confident and nuanced compositions yet, brimming with trademark swagger and 7 essential vitamins and minerals.

  • Jeremy Freeman

    I’m listening to it now, I have to say it’s not making the best impression on me “yet”.

  • De2013

    This sounds great and I will definitely listen to it more. I’m a newcomer to Revocation territory so it all sounds new and fresh (as goes for almost 70% of the music reviewed over here). Can understand that the more seasoned listener would have expected more, but for me this is sounds really solid. Great review!

  • Wow, if this is on the low end of Revocation’s releases than I desperately need to go back and listen to their older material. (Frankly, how I ever missed it in the first place…) I’d probably have rated this higher; it scratches an itch I didn’t even know I had. Really solid.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      Oh yeah you should do that these guys are a great band.

  • Apple Tree

    ive looked all around on the internet for a discussion on revocation’s vocals, as ive really liked their vocalists higher range stuff. any opinions, or am i alone in this