Monday 19 September 2022

ALBUM REVIEW: Revocation, "Netherheaven"

By: Richard Maw
Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 09/09/2022
Label: Metal Blade Records

“Netherheaven” CD//DD//LP track listing:
1). Diabolical Majesty
2). Lessons in Occult Theft
3). Nihilistic Violence
4). Strange and Eternal
5). Galleries of Morbid Artistry
6). The 9th Chasm
7). Godforsaken
8). The Intervening Abyss of Untold Aeons
9). Re-Crucified (feat. Trevor Strnad & George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher)
The Review:
Revocation blast back to resume their place as the leading light of the tech-death/thrash masters. I’ve not followed the band fully since “Deathless” back in 2014, but I’ve dipped in and out. On that basis, I can proclaim that this is a great record- even by Revocation’s lofty standards.
So, the good news is plentiful here; tight and punchy sound, loads of riffs- for days and days- catchy sections and endless musical dexterity. The band, collectively, perform incredible musical gymnastics and from the very fast start, it’s obvious that they mean business. The lead work is sublime all the way through, and the drums are both technical and hooky- lots of repeated motifs and ‘framing’ of the labyrinthine structures.
The album is very thrashy in parts- the sections in “Nihilistic Violence” when the band puts their foot down are an aural feast of, well, nihilistic violence. The record further endears itself to me by being nine tracks long; ideal for this type of thing where a little goes a long way. The songs aren’t nine-minute exercises in repetition either; they’re punchy and brimming over with ideas and changes; leads to start “Strange and Eternal”, rhythms and guitar progressions reminiscent of “Individual Thought Patterns”… it’s pretty majestic stuff.
This type of music, of course, is something you build up to and get or you don’t… If you’ve been craving something a little more complex than what you’ve been listening to or have felt that traditional thrash bands don’t go far enough in terms of technicality or extremity, then this is for you. Likewise, if you are a fan of everything from Death to Arkaik or even Nile, then there will be a great deal to delve into and enjoy for you here.
There are no bad tracks across the nine on offer, and while they broadly conform to a type/style, there is variety in terms of tempo, rhythms and hooks. “Galleries of Morbid Artistry” employs quiet/loud dynamics and rhythmical approaches that are not just aimless blasting or thrashing. It’s different from the opener “Diabolical Majesty”- but still sounds like it belongs on the same record. There is melody here in sections of all tempos but mainly this is not an album of hooks per se. It is still memorable, but the technicality is to the fore.
While the band don’t quite get to the jazz infused side of a band like Atheist, again there are jazzier/fusion type elements to the playing, and this adds a light and shade to the record which would have been easy to miss out. The instrumental, “The 9th Chasm”, bears this out. I much prefer my tech-death/thrash to have these types of departures (or additions) as they make things more interesting and listenable. There are few things harder to listen to than dull death metal- either live or on record.

So, what else can be said here; the artwork is fantastic- Paulo Girardi has delivered a nightmarish sleeve (his work for latter day Manilla Road was perfect), the production and mix is superb- it’s just crystal clear- and I really can’t find any faults at all. This is a superlative example of the sub-genre and the blending of the genres involved. All hail Revocation.
“Netherheaven” is available HERE 

Band info: official