AlbumsNovember 29, 20119,585 views

Revocation Chaos of Forms

01. Cretin 02. Cradle Robber 03. Harlot 04. Dissolution Ritual 05. Conjuring the Cataclysm 06. No Funeral 07. Fractal Entity 08. Chaos of Forms 09. The Watchers 10. Beloved Horrifier 11. Dethroned 12. Reprogrammed
2011 Relapse Records
Our score 6


Many metal fans seemed to be in a frenzy after Revocation's last full-length, 2009's very good Existence Is Futile. That made their third effort, the just-released Chaos of Forms, one of this year's most anticipated metal records, and from the looks of many of the reviews floating around in magazines and on the Internet, the expectations appear to have been met. Um, except for right here. I did enjoy Existence Is Futile, and to be honest, it's not the style of metal that typically gets a lot of play in my house. But the guitar work was exciting and scintillating, the vocals were just vicious enough, and the songwriting was strong. It made me sort of pumped up when my Chaos of Forms promo arrived from Relapse, and while a lot of times I'll wait and just download all my press stuff in the evening so I can have everything organized, this one I ripped out right away. And I was almost immediately sorry I did as the disappointment set up shop. The Boston band still mixes death, power and even some prog into their stew, but something about the album has troubled me every time I've gone back and listened: It sounds eerily like Trivium. So some personal bias is going to come into play here because I hate the shit out of Trivium. I don't know if there's a more generic "extreme" metal band, for lack of a better description, than Trivium, and their blandness actually pisses me off. I never thought I'd say the same thing about Revocation, but the songs on this new record steer way too close to that terrain. The melodic vocals here lack character, almost annoyingly so, and the hooks sound like they're designed for radio airplay. That, in itself, is not a sin, but they don't sound good, and they take a lot of the bite out of Revocation's sound. This is largely Hot Topic metalcore, and this band is way better than what they offer up on Chaos of Forms. David Davidson and Dan Gargiulo remain hellacious guitar players, and they just rip and shred at times on this record. But I don't find their playing quite as interesting as what they created on their sophomore album, and that's kind of the theme, isn't it? "Cradle Robber" is mundane metalcore and isn't very interesting beyond the guitar work. "Harlot" isn't terribly challenging either, especially when Davidson barks that oh-so-expected call of, "On your knees!" Saw that coming. "Conjuring the Cataclysm" is a mouthful to say and also isn't an example of Revocation at their finest. "Dethroned" is more of the same, and while aggressive in spots, didn't really light my world on fire. Closer "Reprogrammed" at least tries to go thrashy, but it doesn't make much of a lasting impression. To be fair, there are some moments on this record that do try to take a different path, but they don't always succeed in being strong compositions. Opener "Cretin" is a death-thrash-style crusher, though it's not representative of what follows; "Dissolution Ritual" has some interesting guitar work and sounds a bit like Opeth; "No Funeral" and the title cut remind me a lot of Megadeth, albeit in their modern form; and "The Watchers" is a total oddball with a horn section, Yes-like keyboards, and mind-set that seems buried in Dream Theater. Not a great song, though. Distaste over this record aside, I readily admit this record probably will be a big seller for Relapse, and that's good for an indie label in this economy. Plus, Revocation isn't a bad band at all, and if their profile rises, hey, there are worse groups to which this could happen. I just feel like this band is capable of so much better than the generic-sounding metal that plagues this record. I also wonder if the people who heaped praise on this album did so because it was expected of them. I, for one, don't hear the genius. Bottom line: If you're a big Trivium fan, you'll love this. You might even like it more, because this band could kill them. But I expected a step ahead for this heavily talented band, and Revocation left me disappointed.

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anonymous 1/24/2013 7:27:43 PM

a favorite band of mine, but this is their weakest release. totally redeemed with their new EP tho