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Album Review: REVOCATION Revocation

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Over the course of just five years, Boston's Revocation have earned universal acclaim for their familiar-yet-well-executed hybrid of technical death metal and thrash revivalism, two subgenres so hot right now that if you're at the top of the game in either bracket you're guaranteed to be one of the more popular metal bands out there. If you're the best at both? Game over.

Revocation are hardly just trend chasers, though: whereas most neo-thrash focuses on the sloppy, rudimentary European style of the early 80's, these guys have as much of an affinity for the post-Pantera groove style as they do the Bay Area thrash of the golden era, and there's no room for the unpolished Euro style at all within the framework of their precision tech death template.

Detractors – of which there are admittedly very few – will knock the band for basically writing the same album over and over… but that's sort of the point here. This isn't retro music (Revocation, if anything, are as state-of-the-art as it comes) but the band do strive for a timeless quality that leans heavily on classic, existing genre tropes while simultaneously pointing the way forward with strong, modernist songwriting.

This modest 10-song effort harks back to an era when catchy riffs and memorable choruses were what was important, which is in stark contrast to contemporary bands who focus more on creating a unique sound… which has the fortunate side effect of thwarting efforts to critique their songwriting by giving the listener as little as possible to compare it to.

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Revocation don't need any such handicaps. Songs like lead single "Fracked" stand on their own two feet no matter how high the bar has been set by other, similar material. This is a band that can navigate difficult leads and tricky time signatures with the best of them ("Spastic") while elsewhere sticking to stylistically simple material and letting the riffs do the talking ("The Gift You Gave", "Archfiend").

Typically, an eponymous album released well into the mature phase of a band's career signals either a reinvention of sorts (Metallica) or a return to roots (Candlemass). Revocation is neither: the group has never really deviated from their roots to begin with, and this album is certainly no reinvention. Sometimes the music benefits most when the creators are focused more on refinement than experimentation, and no one is more concerned with perfection than Revocation.

Stream the album in full here, and check out their "Dyers Eve" cover.

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