Sunday, September 16, 2012

Revocation - Chaos of Forms

Combining the likes of thrash metal and technical death, Revocation come back with Chaos of Forms in 2011 with all of the force they’re capable of bringing to their audiences. I’ve seen Revocation live several times since they released Empire of the Obscene and have watched them mature and attract more attention with each release. After they got the attention of the masses in the extreme metal world when they embarked on a tour with Job for a Cowboy, Whitechapel, and Cattle Decapitation and Despised Icon’s farewell US tour, the next thing they had to do was come back with a release like none other they’ve ever brought to the world (which is only two albums). The thing that confuses me is that even though I’m blown away by their energetic performances and blasting technicality, I’ve never really bothered to follow them and actually get to know their music in an up-close manner. That is, until I sat down to review their Existence is Futile record. After analyzing that album, I realized the pure potential these guys actually possess. Now, it’s time for Chaos of Forms.

Revocation has never been a band to have the same sound for several albums in a row. In other words, each Revocation album sounds different. Empire of the Obscene is more of a traditional thrash death record with some melodic influences, Existence is Futile has a full-on technical sound with tons of thrash metal influences. Chaos of Forms is something completely different. It still has all of the extremely complex guitar-bass interplay, the hard rock guitar solos, and the extreme thrash metal-style drumming; but it brings a whole different mood to the table that reminds me of a revived old school thrash metal sound that’s been edited and influenced by Gojira, Atheist, Arsis, and Exodus.

The guitars are much less technical on this album than the other two Revocation albums. But don’t take that statement and apply it to the entire album, because the solos are filled with colorful technicality and complexity. Based on what I’m hearing on this album, the bassist plays a less technical part and focuses more on musical creativity and interplaying with the guitars.

Despite their complex compositions and structure, Revocation’s music is fairly easy to comprehend and swallow. Some of the progressive-heads see that as a big no-no, but in this case, it actually works in the opposite way. The band’s extremely catchy hard rock-influenced style (similar to that of DevilDriver) helps the listener to grasp every aspect of their sound almost instantly with no trouble at all, therefore causing the addiction process to begin to commence sooner. When I see something that’s extremely complex, yet easy as shit to grasp, I see a lot of musical knowledge because well…pulling off something like THAT isn’t anywhere NEAR being in the realms of being easy. The addition of the second guitarist helps add complexity to the guitar parts as well as have a soloist that plays with a different style. I know that Revocation has always cited classic rock and jazz as being influences on their sound (especially their solos), but I feel that this album has a stronger rock/jazz feel than any of their other records. Of course, the increased prominence of thrash metal in their music is one of the major causes for the catchiness, but the solos and crisp vocal harmonizations seem to have more of a jazz feel to them than ever before. As well as that, the bassist plays with more of a funky style in songs like Harlot and Beloved Horrifier.

And just by hearing all of this, I can tell that there’s SOME extensive musical knowledge going on here, and as a matter of fact, the vocalist/guitarist has gone through numerous studies of musical theory of all kinds including jazz, rock, blues, and some classical. When I read this, I INSTANTLY understood the reasoning behind all of those bluesy guitar solos that can be heard on all three Revocation albums.

This album is definitely a heavy metal highlight of 2011, there’s no denying that. After showing extensive progression and musical intelligence in each album, does Revocation have the capability of further raising the bar for themselves in the future? This is a must-have for anyone who likes hearing something new. A perfect blend of technicality, thrash, progressiveness, and death metal that has enough of everything to make anyone happy. I would rate this album 19/20 for not only being virtually flawless, but for completely destroying the walls of the realms of extreme metal and being one of the bands that strive to progress and create, not copy and perfect.