Tech Death Thursday: Revocation – The Outer Ones


A new Revocation album looms ahead. We’re diving straight into the gaping maw of The Outer Ones.

First, some news:

  • Cryptopsy just announced The Book of Suffering – Tome II for October 26th, and it sounds like we’ll be getting a new song and video soon as well. Keep an eye on their page for that.
  • Obscura just announced a European tour for early next year, and the supporting lineup is pretty sweet. They’ll be hitting the road with Fallujah, Allegaeon, and First Fragment this coming February.
  • Chicago tech-thrashers Misanthropy had a surprise album release last week, and it’s pretty sweet. Check out Abhorrent Metamorphosis if you’re looking for something weird and nasty.

Ah, Revocation. Purveyors of crazy shred and riffs alike, the death-thrash stalwarts have something of a contentious standing among our readers, some thinking they’re the best thing since sliced bread, and others who are wrong feel the technique gets in the way of the songwriting. For the sake of transparency, I fall in the former category; Revocation have long been one of my favorite technical bands, and The Outer Ones further solidifies that position.

Much as I loathe the familiar cadence of “this is the most death metal they’ve ever sounded,” this time it’s coming from the mouth of the beast itself. I know some people use that as a metric of quality, but I don’t want to open that particular can of worms right now. What is undeniable is that this is the heaviest record they’ve ever put out; they spend a lot more time on the lower end of their instruments than previous records, with more slow parts designed to drag you into the muck with hideous chords and mind-breaking rhythms. The few straightforward riffs on the album are there to pummel and pulverize, favoring long strings of tremolo-picked melodies and chunky mid-tempo gallops.

This is also the most experimental and varied they’ve ever sounded; it feels like they pulled together all the individual defining elements of their previous records and turned them up to eleven. The atmosphere echoes the nihilistic vibe of their self-titled, riffs combining the ferocity of Deathless and flashiness of Chaos of Forms, all expressed through the jazzy voicings of Great is our Sin. Chaotic and dissonant as it gets, Revocation haven’t lost their sense of fun. Through all the experimentation, you won’t lack for hooks and heandbanging moments; they’re all just much weirder than they were before. It feels emblematic of their career as a whole while taking a clear step forward.

In addition to the overarching theme of cosmic horror ties everything together, The Outer Ones is also some of the band’s best work on a song to song basis. “That Which Consumes All Things” lays the dissonance on thick, one or two riffs in particular giving the impression of some Artificial Brain bleed-through. “Blood Atonement” is a sort of mixture of older tracks “Conjuring the Cataclysm” and “Witch Trials,” and “Ex Nihilo” presents some of their best melodic work to date. On the heavier side of things, “Vanitas” and “A Starless Darkness”  trap you in a caustic haze of dissonant chords before breaking away respectively to jazzy and doomy conclusions, and very few songs in their catalog can match the title track’s sheer girth. That thick, slimy verse riff evokes the image of incomprehensible eldritch monsters to a tee, and I love it.

While the engineering job isn’t too different from the past two albums, everything on this record feels much more aggressive somehow. Maybe it’s just the shift to heavier material, but it all seems so visceral for such complex music and clean production. Dave’s vocals are more a throaty snarl than his usual bark, and both guitarists seem to be digging in harder on some of those chunkier riffs. Lack of energy seemed to be a common complaint with Great Is Our Sin, which is not an accusation that can be fairly leveled at The Outer Ones at all.

Seven full-length albums and an EP in and Revocation are stronger than ever. If you’re already a fan of the band, this is going to be everything you want from them and then some. If they’ve never clicked with you in the past, I would encourage you to give it a chance; there’s enough new stuff going on here that they might win you over. It’s a bit of a wait yet, but you’ll be able to find out when it drops on September 28th via Metal Blade (digitally at Bandcamp). In the meantime, you can drop by Revocation’s Facebook page for tour dates, and you should definitely check out the interview we did with Dave right here. That’s all I’ve got for now; until we meet again,

Stay Tech

Is your band tech as heck? Got a juicy piece of news or an upcoming release to watch? Send it my way at and I’ll check it out. I might even talk about it.

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