Many people in New England have a sense of pride for their sport teams, battle tested perseverance through the coldest winters and the most brutal of summers, and that really obnoxious “Bahsten” accent that we think is cool. However, the metal scene of New England can chalk up another addition to their lists of things to be proud of, and that is Boston’s very own, Revocation. This four-piece death metal outfit has been dismantling dictators through their onslaught of epic death metal for years now and they continue to get better and better. Revocation’s newest release, Deathless (Metal Blade), has certainly pushed Dave Davidson and the gang up another notch on the death metal ladder. Ten tracks coming in at around the 48 minute mark will still leave you itching for more, even if all of that shredding has melted your face. Just when I thought this band might have been getting close to their ceiling with the previous self-titled release, Deathless has come around and shot right through this proverbial ceiling and into my ears, and boy does it feel good. This album also marks the Metal Blade debut for the band as they were recently signed to Relapse Records since 2009 and Metal Blade should be quite happy with this pickup. The hardest part about reviewing this album is probably picking out which songs to talk about as every song has the Revocation feel to it, yet each track has its own personality.
The first half of this album is so perfect that Revocation could have released just those 5 songs, called it an EP, and could probably get album of the year. Not saying the second half isn’t as good at all by the way! In fact, the second half is as good as the first half if not better. The first five songs (‘A Debt Owed to the Grave’, ‘Deathless’, ‘Labyrinth of Eyes’, ‘Madness Opus’, and ‘Scorched Earth Policy’) each have their own distinct memorable moments in the song, yet still stay loyal to their sound. ‘A Debt Owed to the Grave’ starts off with in your face riffing and aggression, then builds itself up only to end in one of the grooviest endings to a song these guys may have ever written. ‘Deathless’ was a familiar song as it was released awhile back. On top of that, the song exemplifies everything Revocation has to offer and was certainly a great pick as a single. ‘Labyrinth of Eyes’ is one of the heavier songs on the album that will guarantee to get your head banging and may just cause a muscle or two to get pulled in your neck. Don’t worry, it is certainly worth the energy and pain! ‘Madness Opus’ also does a great job of sticking to that Revocation sound but has an eerie interlude halfway through the song that sounds exactly like a freak show at a carnival. And if you liked the interlude, no need to fear, the song closes out with a refrain on this part as well. ‘Scorched Earth Policy’ is a return to arms if you will for these Bostonians, as this track is the most “thrashy” of all the tracks and reminded me a lot of the tracks from their second release, Resistance is Futile. Another song I could not leave out is ‘United in Helotry’ as this song goes all over the spectrum of heavy music. Start off with a base of Revocation, add what sounds like an Opeth, yes Opeth, bridge around the 2 minute mark, and then finish it off with a groovy outro that Dime would be proud of. For the listeners that love the instrumental tracks that this band put out, check out ‘Apex’, I promise it will not let you down. Dave must really look forward to writing the instrumental tracks on each album as they usually contain the best shred work on each release.
Quite honestly, I could have written an entire review breaking down Deathless track by track. However, I did not do this for two reasons: 1) I like to leave room for imagination and curiosity to grow in everyone’s mind so they actually go and pick this album up and, 2) you, the reader, would have stopped reading a long time ago and just started listening to the album after my praises. Without a doubt in my mind, Deathless will be in my Top 5… scratch that I feel bold, I am going with Top 3 Albums of the Year for 2014! Revocation has now put out 5 albums, 1 EP, and has been touring relentlessly since 2008 and they show no signs of slowing down. New England should continue to be proud of their Stanley Cups, World Series titles, NBA Championships, and Vince Lombardi trophies, but make room for Deathless from one of the greatest bands of the last 10 years to come out of Boston.