Revocation - Chaos Of Forms
Technical Thrash
12 songs (46:59)
Release year: 2011
Revocation Myspace, Relapse
Reviewed by Charles
Is there something to be said for treating music as preposterous virtuosic spectacle rather than self-expression? Well, maybe, so long as you do that in such a way that your preposterous virtuosity comes across as exuberant and flamboyant rather than serious and pompous. Enter Revocation, whose ludicrous Chaos of Forms has rejuvenated my own interest in technical thrash metal. This aptly-named album combines the agile speed metal riffing of classic Megadeth, power-groove nuttery reminiscent of Biomechanical, melodeath theatrics, bizarre power balladry, hardcore clunking, and much more besides, into an energising and highly entertaining mishmash.

The basis of the sound, if such an ever-shifting approach can be said to have a basis, is its musclebound, athletic guitar riffing, combined with David Davison's hardcore-influenced growls. Another defining characteristic is the omnipresent lead guitar wizardry, which lends an air of the spectacular to pretty much every passage or idea. But the real appeal here lies in the experimental asides which are hurled defiantly into the mix, like carrots into a fruit smoothie. Let’s take some examples, starting with the relatively familiar and progressing through spiralling levels of extravagance. Cretin and Cradle Robber segue skilfully and seamlessly into smooth little flashes of quasi-funky chromaticism, paralleling Marty Friedman’s work on tracks like Skin O’ My Teeth or Lucretia. No Funeral seems to hint at the cheesy singalong choruses of a Euro power-metal act. Conjuring the Cataclysm ably pastiches black metal. Careering further away from the ideal-typical tech-thrash axis, we have the likes of The Watchers. Inappropriate synth trumpet crescendos are underpinned by the percussive clip-clop of a fucking cowbell, of all things, before we are launched into a dextrous Hammond organ solo. The marvellous thing about the latter is that it doesn’t sound even remotely incongruous.

You could easily infer from this that there aren't really any well-structured, self-contained songs to be found here. This may be true to an extent, but such is the precision with which these wildly unpredictable tracks are assembled that it all hangs together. Any song here could likely be taken as a case study, but consider Dethroned. It starts with a Painkiller-nodding drumfill, kicking into a retro heavy metal riff, but then somehow winds up in its final minutes as bonsai post-rock. The aforementioned Conjuring the Cataclysm combines neat acoustic flourishes with lovely Brian May-style soloing, and morphs sequentially into oddball black metal blasting, and then onto burbling Cynic-like bass twanging. Throughout, every transition is accomplished with technical finesse, so that you buy their logic even if it seems unlikely. This is great: even my housemate whose only interest in metal so far has been his sniggering at Carcass song titles seems to like it. Nice work.

Killing Songs :
The Watchers, Conjuring the Cataclysm, Deprogrammed
Charles quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Revocation that we have reviewed:
Revocation - Revocation reviewed by Charles and quoted 75 / 100
Revocation - Existence Is Futile reviewed by Kyle and quoted 80 / 100
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