It seems Revocation are on a relentless mission to bring thrash-tinted death metal to the masses, and with little aggressive compromise. Their wonderfully human social media forrays, retro visual aesthetics, and uncompromisingly consistent discography are a recipe for success, and the band have yet to disappoint. There is no denying that popular influence has had its grip on the Boston thrashers, but Great Is Our Sin is plenty enough proof that Davidson and the boys are yet to tire of sleek ideas. Jazzy influence is as evident as ever, musicianship is in prime form, and the clean vocals that debuted in Deathless have matured into a familiar, but welcome sound. However, there are only so many pathways a single act can explore over six records while still retaining a household tone. Fantastic a record as it may be, the nagging déjà vu is a little too evident to go unseen.
“Arbiters of the Apocalypse” is a surprising opener to Great Is Our Sin in that it is the weakest song on the whole album. A two-punch combo of Nile-esque riffs and Davidson’s best Matt Heafy vocal impression shouldn’t seem like too bad of an ordeal on paper. However, there is no denying this song serves the sole purpose of pleasing the crowd. It is a single to the core; riffs stick within accessible time signatures and melodies, and the song’s progression is worryingly standard for thrash metal. Fortunately, “Arbiters of the Apocalypse” is the only major hiccup, but it definitely tainted my view on the proceeding two-to-three tracks for the first couple of listens. Only for the first couple of listens however. “Theater of Horror” is a carnal headbanger that runs back and forth between rapid tremolo picking and a chunky waltz. Not to be outdone, “Monolithic Ignorance” is a highlight example of Davidson’s clean implementation as he makes ferocious chants under reverbed influence. Written by rhythm guitarist Dan Gargiulo, it is fascinating to see just how well he incorporates a stronger focus on the low end into a band so renown for their dynamic leads. The low end gets even more spotlight time in the two following tracks, with Brett Bamberger’s bass work setting an Atheist-like confidence whenever it gets the chance. While every track here is worthy of Revocation‘s status, every song surrounding “Monolithic Ignorance” pulls a little too strongly from Deathless. Brett’s impressive bass work and the sheer enjoyment of the cascading riffs rule over the roost, but so much of the first half of Great Is Our Sin could be interchanged with the band’s last release, and you’d be none the wiser.
One could debate until the cows came home whether or not thrash metal, and Revocation‘s leanings on the genre could be considered pandering to a wider audience. It is difficult to really say what the band were trying to achieve with this record, as obligatory instrumental track “The Exaltation” and follow-up “Profanum Vulgus” almost force-feed jazzier attitudes in compensation for the largely thrash-driven first-half. The style had in no way been neglected prior, but these two tracks in particular are quite rife with such undertones, even by Revocation‘s standards. “Copernican Heresy” proceeds to alter the tone once-more, thrusting the second half into a more death metal-heavy territory. This is with good merit; Great Is Our Sin houses it’s strongest and most individual tracks here. Up until this point, it would seem the band had been utilizing Deathless as a template on which they would project different ideas. The darker, ringing leads and crushing rhythm work that the band explored in the albums Chaos Forms and Existence Is Futile dominates the second half, which essentially turns this into a playlist. With the exception of “Cleaving Giants of Ice”, which is likely the closest Revocation will ever get to a power ballad, the album’s trek to conclusion is absurdly fast, and not a single clean lyric is uttered. There are more than enough Revocation-isms to tie the record together, but the way the record is split into three tonal progressions doesn’t help lasting impressions.
It is no easy feat faulting the songwriting on the whole for Great Is Our Sin. “Monolithic Ignorance” and “Copernican Heresy” are some of the best mid-length tracks the group have yet put out. The album is a glowing wealth of diversity, and to say individual performance has developed is quite the understatement. Thus, it is unfortunate that its opening strides feel more akin to routine paces around the block. A slightly off-kilter tracklisting order also leaves some to be desired, causing the album to sound considerably more disjointed than it really needs to. All things considered, this is still an incredible release. It doesn’t exceed the consistent quality of “Deathless” or the self-titled, but the shining moments are absurdly delectable. By this point in time, expectations of Revocation are impressively high, and while Great Is Our Sin doesn’t always carry itself with the same poise as it’s younger self, a few good tricks up the sleeve and years of experience are enough for expectations to be sufficiently exceeded.
Official Site: http://revocationband.com/