I came rather late to Revocation, first hearing them live at Damnation Festival in Leeds in 2014, but since then they have become a firm favourite of this reviewer. Great is Our Sin is the band’s sixth full length album, following 2014’s Deathless. It also represents two firsts for the band – their first outing with new drummer, former 3 Inches of Blood skinsman Ash Pearson, and the band’s first dabble with a concept theme.
Founder and vocalist/guitarist Dave Davidson explains the lyrical theme: “The concept revolves around the folly of man throughout the ages. Some themes come from historical references that are hundreds of years old, yet sadly these themes are still very relevant today due to mankind’s refusal to learn from the lessons history has taught us, time and time again.” Lessons for us all indeed!
The band were perhaps criticised somewhat in their earlier years for their over-use of influences leading to a degree of unoriginality. That cannot be said now, and driven by the considerable technical and creative talents of David Davidson, this is a band who have matured and evolved their form of technical and melodic death metal into their own and one which fills a much needed gap in the market. Great is our Sin really showcases a confident and mature band not afraid to mix things up stylistically.
The band’s trademark melody is on show here even more than previous albums but this helps bring a nice flow to some technically brilliant and diverse song structures which might lead others astray. There’s also plenty of characteristically catchy, foot stomping riffs to help drive things on. From the opening salvos of “Arbiters of the Apocalypse”, the brilliantly heavy “Only the Spineless Survive” the almost jazzy “Copernicus Heresy” to the hauntingly epic “Cleaving Giants of Ice, the listener is enthralled throughout.
The album closes on the most welcome of notes, a technically brilliant cover of Slayer’s “Alter of Sacrifice”. Revocation may be heavily influenced by such masters of the genre but then who isn’t. Surely Revocation are doing their own influencing now.
This is a real must for fans of the band, or indeed any fans of the heavier side of metal. Even better if you get the chance to see these guys live grab it.
Great is our Sin was released 22 July on Metal Blade Records.
Header image by Jeremy Saffer