The Outer Ones
Band / Release Notes
Available September 28th, 2018 on Metal Blade
More death metally & proggy, slightly less thrashy this time
By this point, there's not much need to explain what kind of music Revocation make, but if you don't know, it's always been kind of a mix of thrash and death metal--and leaning towards the more technical side of both. Stylistic change has been minimal for the band, but 2016's "Great Is Our Sin" found them getting just a touch proggier than they had been in the past.
On "The Outer Ones," that trend continues, but with many of the riffs also placing greater emphasis on the band's death metal side than its thrash side. That means less emphasis on super-tight rhythmic punch and sometimes just a hint of sonic sludge seeping in, as frontman/lead guitarist Dave Davidson and co-guitarist Dan Gargiulo throw in a bit more low string single-note riffing than they have in the past (see opening cut "Of Unworldly Origin.") I think I also hear Davidson's Voivod influence continuing to show up on cuts like "Fathomless Catacombs" (one of my personal favorites). The title track kicks off with some intriguing discordant single note lines further up the register before launching off on another groovy tech death-y journey, with bassist Brett Bamberger and especially drummer Ash Pearson doing an impressive job of keeping pace with all the blinding riff science going on around them without ever even coming close to getting in the way.
Lyrically, things have taken a slight shift away from the societal/political concerns of the band's previous work. (As noted in my review of "Great Is Our Sin," I feel that those themes were handled better on the band's previous releases than that one.) Perhaps the band felt it was simply time for a bit of a change in that regard as well. This time around, themes seem to have more of an otherworldly flavor, with references to the occult, the cosmos and the futility of mankind's ambitions. Can't say it makes for all that interesting a read, but again, it is a slight change of pace for the band, which is kind of welcome.
Overall, it's another perfectly worthwhile entry into the Revocation catalog, for the simple reason that it finds the band experimenting and tweaking their sound just enough to keep things interesting and avoid repetition. I've occasionally gotten the feeling from their recent work that this is (understandably) becoming more of a challenge for them. But once again, they've managed to do it without upsetting the death/thrash apple cart.