Nothing can compare to the nuttiness that can be tech death. Blast beats plus virtuoso riffing is simply candy to the ears. The only problem, if it can even really be defined that way, is that tech death is rarely “dirty”. I mean that in the way that old school death metal or thrash bands can be dirty. Playing things a little looser and dialing back on the production qualities while also turning up the distortion is very rarely in the playbook for tech death bands. Fortunately, the fans of dirt have Revocation, a band that consistently blurs the lines between thrash and technical death metal. The Outer Ones is a great example that bands can play things a little loose while also being technical masters of their instruments.
Get one thing straight: this record is just complete ear candy. The way that the band can swiftly turn on a dime just grabs your attention. The guitars riffs of David Davidson and Dan Gargiulo make it difficult to keep up. These two are incredibly talented players and writers, keeping the riffs intense and interesting. What makes these two players even better is an incredible rhythm section of Brett Bamberger on bass and Ash Pearson on drums. Having that bass providing a deep melodic rhythm so that Davidson ad Gargiulo can shine is key. Pearson is equally mad on the drums, providing gruelingly paced blast beats or spacing out the drums for more groove-oriented sections makes everything just that much more interesting.
What’s even more interesting about the technicality is how jazzy it is. Recently, Davidson was promoting the band and the new record by having a conversation with Testament guitarist Alex Skolnick about their mutual love of jazz guitar. As interesting as the conversation was, it strongly relates to some of the tracks on The Outer Ones. Listening to “Blood Atonement,” you can hear the influence there. There’s a melodic bridge section where you can hear jazz-style guitar licks interrupted by commonly-used jazz chords. Many might downplay the jazz influence, but all should know how helpful it is to have that education to help make much more technically complex music.
All of these things combine to make incredibly intriguing and complex songs and music that simply won’t allow you to focus on anything else but Revocation. The title track provides that in droves. That jazz education really benefits Davidson for the opening riff that reflects the album art: a sprawling creature of unusual dimensions consuming everything in its path. Since the song is describing that same creature in the lyrics, everything just makes sense together. Seemingly conflicting rhythms between the guitars and the rhythm section add to the complexity of the track in a way that astounds and confuses your ears. Sections of this song come together in progressively intriguing ways. The title track reflects the record as a whole of delightful turn-on-a-dime virtuosity with that dirty metal we all crave.
There’s no denying this record. It’s complex in a way that metal fans can understand, but that complexity is based on a deep understanding of music theory. It makes this record even better to hear since it touches on so many different aspects of music in general but couches it in technical death metal that borders on thrash. The Outer Ones should be a top 10 record for 2018 and is possibly Revocation’s best record thus far.