Revocation review: Teratogenesis



1. The Grip Tightens ★★★★★
2. Spurn the Outstreched Hand ★★★
3. Maniacally Unleashed ★★★★
4. Teratogenesis ★★★★
5. Bound by Desire ★★★★


Revocation are a four piece outfit hailing from Boston who typically play a blend of thrash and extreme progressive metal with notable technical proficiency. Teratogenesis is, thanks to ScionAV, a completely free 5-track EP.

I first covered The Grip Tightens with the release of their hilarious video earlier in the week. While I hadn’t actually heard the band before, the song was both catchy and aggressive, and the band showed that they had the technical chops to hang with the best of them. Also, it’s nice to see someone playing a Jackson Warrior for once (the over saturation of the market with cheap Dean guitars has irked me for quite a few years, but I digress). Oh, and the guys holding the guitars? They’re absolutely astounding, these guys can absolutely play. The video aside, the track is crushing thrash metal, but with melodies that I can see giving them mainstream viability. This isn’t to their discredit, and I’m not trying to give the impression that they are some “new wave of American metal” band pandering to the metalcore crowd – this is aggressive modern thrash in the post-Exodus vein.

this is aggressive, modern, post-Exodus thrash

Spurn the Outstretch Hand may give you a better understanding of what I mean by “post-Exodus”, in that it sounds similar to what one would expect from an Exodus album post-reformation. Gary Holt is, and will remain, a technically amazing guitarist…heck, a guitar hero if there ever was one, but David Davidson and Dan Gargiulo start to really outshine and break this post-Exodus mould, blending in progressive influences that really make their material stand apart from the crowd. While the previously mentioned track shows glimpses of this in the lead section, the rhythm can get a bit stale and holds it back.

It is the next 3 tracks, though, that they begin to fire on all cylinders with the progressive elements and song structure that keeps you constantly guessing and never bored. Maniacally Unleashed, to make a comparison, reminds me of the almighty Vektor. With it’s amazing, almost whimsical lead section with intermittent elements of blues here and there; topped off with an abstract rhythm.

The title track, Teratogenesis (what?), shows some Pantera / Dimebag Darrell influence with its growl, but not it’s groove. Instead what we get is much faster, carried by the trademark post-Exodus speed and attack. Some ‘pig squeal’ death metal vocals are used, but thankfully are kept to a bare minimum (in contract to the debut album which was painfully slathered with them). The leads are again abstract and I love it, while the ending again minces in some Pantera influence I just can’t quite put my finger on (but it’s there).

Wrapping the EP up, Bound by Desire continues the pace of the previous tracks, not relinquishing any momentum. While this is more of the same, it’s not in a bad way. Blast beats are used sparingly, and used well to add force without veering into monotonous white noise like many other bands. The track contains another melodic, progressing, ‘out of nowhere’ lead section that catches by surprise. The changing of pace and time signature on these songs in a welcomes trait; even though these tracks are roughly 3 to 5 minutes long, they manage to feel significantly longer, and just as emotive and diverse as something you’d expect in the 7+ minute range. Leads here remind of of Guthrie Govan, which makes me want to head an even greater infusion of polyrhythmic jazz elements…but maybe I’m just being too overeager to hear even more experimentation.

their best tracks have been the ones that really stretch their technical and songwriting abilities

If there was one recommendation I could give to this band, it would be for David and Dan to really experiment with their influences and create something really out there. Something strange. The vocals between the two of them are on point in the aggressive / thrash department, so stay on course; but with the guitars…experiment and see where it takes you. So far, from Revocation, their best tracks have been the ones that really stretch their technical and songwriting abilities.

The album starts strong, it ends strong, it’s five tracks, and it’s free. What more could you possibly want. Production values are through the roof thanks to (I’m assuming, in light of liner notes) Peter Rutcho, who handled their previous releases. Typically, one of the biggest hallmarks of good mixing and production is the ability to drive high volume and still retain clarity amongst all sections without any sort of distortion or loss of fidelity, and Rutcho achieves this in spades.

In short, if you’re like me and slept on this band up until now, take advantage of the fact that this is a free album, give it a whirl, and see where it takes you. I’ve been thoroughly impressed.

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