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REVOCATION Netherheaven

By Nathan Dufour, Great White North
Tuesday, October 4, 2022 @ 8:08 AM


- advertisement -
REVOCATION
Netherheaven

2022, Metal Blade




In 2018, under contemplation of the last REVOCATION album, I opined that REVOCATION get closer to being a progressive death metal band all the time. You know, instead of being a death metal minded prog band. Now we find ourselves in 2022, with new album Netherheaven and not only have the years borne out my sentiment, but the album amplifies it. Netherheaven also flirts with Black Metal and outright brutality which have hitherto not been calling cards of the REVOCATION sound.

The print media accompanying the promo of the album includes a breakdown of all song meanings contained on Netherheaven and while it is certainly illuminating to read about the tunes on the album, the real takeaway is the “Shoutout to Satan for the inspiration” bit. OK, so that’s where this album is going - deicide on!

Beginning with absolute barn burner “Diabolical Mastery” sets the tone both lyrically and musically - pulling its subject matter from a very real, and very real, statue of Baphomet located in Salem, Mass. that certainly, ummm, inflamed some folks. The production and mixing stand out immediately as, horns up, the best REVOCATION have ever had. Ash Pearson’s drums sound like cannons (apologies to Tchaikovksy) and he certainly doesn’t need a side hustle - he is that busy within the first 35 or so seconds of the proceedings. It’s dizzying. Dave Davidson’s guitar tone here is at once thick and nebulous, trem picking not reaching trve levels but approximating the ethos of something far deeper underground than anyone dares to explore. Vocally, oh man, this is a treat - somewhere between GOATWHORE, NASUM, and CANNIBAL CORPSE - absolutely unhinged and easily the most feral these ears have heard from REVOCATION in, well, ever. The attack is absolutely unrelenting. If your head doesn’t start nodding at the excellently placed and paced “eough!” at 01:47 into the track then you should probably go listen to literally anything else. Oh, and the guitar solo is bright amidst all the density of the recording, so that’s nice.

Lead single “Nihilistic Violence” slows things down to a slow burning smoulder of lingering riffs and swirling tom fills punctuating by a resolutely popping double kick gallop, anchored by serpentine bass lines. Something about Abraxis is gonna be shouted from the pit forever, mark my words - the tune is just aching to be given its due in a small room where you’re close enough to feel the sweat of the performer. And that’s one really big part of why Netherheaven succeeds as well as it does - for the fans, by fans, to make some new fans - nothing more and nothing less. It doesn’t have to be.Within the first 3 songs, REVOCATION have doubtlessly fashioned their own crowns as kings. And yes, you betcha they bring that riff back. My face might stick like this. IYKYK.

Unexpectedly, there is an instrumental track contained on Netherheaven in the form of “The 9th Chasm”. Without lyrics (everything is instrumental to start anyway), the arrangement is at once emotive and crushing. Each player is given room to stretch and breathe while in no way taking away from the relentless beating the listener is subjected to on the rest of the album. Curiously enough, at least for me, is the inclusion of the instrumental track near the end of the album. It’s not the final track, it’s not the mid section intermission - it’s the ¾ mark.And it works fantastically.

Speaking of a beating, grab a helmet before “Godforsaken” rips your pathetic head off. Our Mini-Schnauzer loves how it stomps along, and Charles absolutely bangs his little head. It’s that heavy, I swear to you.

All told, Netherheaven is the best album REVOCATION have thus far created, and I can say without any hyperbole or exaggeration. The pace is perfect, it holds the listener’s attention with enough bombast and feeling in arrangements of the greatest thrash/death/etc albums you can name, that mean something to you.

Special mention must be made to the dedication of the album, to the late Trevor Strnad of THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER. A guest on the stupidly good final track (along with the unfuckwithable neck of George Fisher), Trevor was lost to the struggle of mental health. I have often said that nobody ever says that someone died of mental health, and they really should. These are crucial conversations that you need to be having with yourself, with your loved ones. If you or someone you love needs help, I have included some resources here, both in the United States and Canada. It’s not how I ever wanted to end a review, but I feel very strongly about the subject. Therapy is good for you. Get over yourself. Therapy is good for you.Repeat as needed.

Canada:
Canadian Mental Health Association Home - CMHA National
Well Central Home - Well Central
211 Help Starts Here - 211.ca

U.S.
211 Call 211 for Essential Community Services | United Way 211
988 (Formerly the really long toll free number, which is available indefinitely) Lifeline (988lifeline.org)

4.5 Out Of 5.0


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