I didn’t grow up on Metal. Any form, any sub-genre. In the 1980’s, I was raised on Country, Classical, and R & B music; so if someone asks me who my favorite Thrash or Heavy Metal band was, throwing out names like SLAYER, IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, or EXODUS, it’s impossible for me to reach back and find any source of true Metal nostalgia. My most profound Metal memories, my most vivid head-banging moments are, and this is truly a double-edged sword, fairly recent. I’m no Metal encyclopedia like some of my younger and older The Metal Observer brethren, but I can lay claim as to being just as passionate and just as reliant on a style of music I find myself linked with and constantly awe-stricken by.
The purpose of the above paragraph (that little bit of semi-helpful exposition) is for (at least) two reasons: 1) to explain my olive green color in certain Metal varieties; Thrash being this review’s particular genre, and 2) REVOCATION, a peach-fuzzed brat pack trio of Massachusetts Metal-heads, were more than likely introduced to Metal at a much younger age than I was…lucky pricks.
After releasing a debut full-length in 2008 entitled “Empire of the Obscene,” the big wigs at Relapse Records felt the band’s potential was simply too strong to pass up. REVOCATION signed the dotted line, and backed by one of the leading Extreme Metal labels in the world, the trio let loose their sophomore LP just a year later, the ripping “Existence Is Futile.”
Now, from what my still blossoming Thrash cochlea are registering, REVOCATION play a brand of Metal that thrashes as well as it does because of the band’s wanton supply of interconnecting riffs, ceaseless energy, melodic hybridizations, and an enthusiastic ode to how the pioneers of the 1980’s mutated tempo with lifestyle and attitude. At a pube over 47 minutes, “Existence Is Futile” is chock full of seemingly every Thrash variety; “Deathonomics” has that primordial Punk/Hardcore feel; the title track, “Existence is Futile,” weilds that galloping chug factor that makes one think of the slowed Post-Thrash genre; “ReaniManiac” owns a little Grindcore blasting; and “Across Forests and Fjords” is simply bad-ass instrumental Thrash.
In retrospect, there really are not too many slights on “Existence Is Futile.” The music, the instrumentation rather, is wonderfully tight, creative, and agreeable from start to finish – the closing track, “The Tragedy of Modern Ages,” progressively polishes things off. The solos by David Davidson are dynamic, memorable, virtuoso examples of how shredding is done tastefully and, perhaps more important in this jobless shit-show of an era, economically. Anthony Buda‘s bass duties are more than proficient, and Phil Dubois-Coyne’s drumming is suitably rapid, so where do the problems lie? Personally, a pair of nit-picking grievances jut out: the overall “heavy factor” and the occasional dual/gang shouting. This is undoubtedly Heavy Metal, and the band does create a venerable wall of melodic chaos, but a certain crush, a superlative steroid slam is what I needs out of my Thrashing Death Metal. It’s too infrequently leveling. Secondly: Davidson’s vocals are strong and almost worthy of his axe skills, but when the band entire decides to join the fray, or maybe it’s just Buda, the ham starts falling off the shelf.
So what you have is sick musicianship, balanced and interesting compositions, and a trio from Massachusetts (my home state), who, by the look of it, are too young to buy porn. Of course, after one or two listens of REVOCATION’s latest, age clearly means shit. Matter-of-factly, “Existence Is Futile” is wicked good.
(Online March 24, 2011)