The Boston area Massachusetts metal band Revocation returns with their 7th studio album The Outer Ones. There’s a lot to be said of metal bands hailing from the state of Massachusetts, but while most of the more successful Mass metalcore bands like Killswitch Engage, Unearth and such lay more musically inclined to Swedish metal influences, Revocation follows a different path. While drawing from technical death metal influences, there’s also thrash as well as a great melodic style at times without over-indulging in the cheesiness that some consider watered down prior Mass metal bands.
The Outer Ones is a great showcase of excellent technical playing without constricting itself to modern conveniences that most djent bands fall into. When I say “thrash” think about some of the more technical masterpieces like Megadeth’s Rust In Peace or Metallica’s And Justice For All to give you a better idea of what you’re in for, just tuned a bit lower. Band front man Dave Davidson (and yes, that’s his real name) is a schooled Berkley guitar player, but in all fairness that knowledge doesn’t describe half of the expression put into his solos. If you’re a guitar-playing aficionado looking for the next shred god, then look no further than Dave Davidson, whose solos at time come across with the proficiency of Marty Friedman with all the same characteristics. That being said, the rest of the bands are no slouches either, with this being the second effort Ash Pearson has drummed on. I’d be remised if I didn’t mention Brett Bamberger’s fantastic bass playing with some great fills and solos in songs like “Blood Atonement” and “Luciferous,” ironically 2 songs written by band co-guitarist Dan Garguilo.,
The talent of the band is one thing, but the fact that such a talented bunch of guys can cohesively assemble an effort like this is a very big deal. I’ve mentioned the term “technical death metal” although I don’t feel the death metal description is an accurate definition of the band’s sound other than the vocals. If I had to compare this in any way to something death metal, I would say fans of Opeth’s earlier material would absolutely appreciate the artsy side of this band, as I feel the melodic points and growls definitely align with what I always loved from that band that is now absent, so if you’re looking to fill that void in shorter non 9 minute songs, ‘The Outer Ones’ is your jam. The frenzied pace is somewhat welcome, the band slows it down to drive the riffs home on outros like in “That Which Consumes You”, all while painting very progressive riffing on songs like “Fathomless Catacombs”.
Bottom Line: If today’s crop of guitar heroes seem very paint by numbers and emotionless, even under the guise of it’s cold metal stylings, The Outer Ones provides a healthy dose of instrumental mastery while giving you a solid performance full of character that looks beyond the trappings of its given genres.
Notable tracks: Blood Atonement, Of Unworldly Origin, Fathomless Catacombs, Luciferous