Revocation – Netherheaven (Review)

Revocation - NetherheavenThis is the eighth album from Revocation, a US death metal band.

I really enjoyed 2018’s The Outer Ones, (as well as its predecessor Great Is Our Sin), so have been looking forward to this one. Whereas The Outer Ones saw the band wading further into death metal waters, does Netherheaven see them retreating to safer depths?

No; if anything, these new songs look for the darker, deeper areas to hunt in, providing the listener with a sinister form of deathly brutality that is enriched with progressive elements and armed with sharp thrash teeth. The former informs some of the solos and structuring, while the latter adds to the riffs. Lots of riffs. Of course, both are firmly pressed into the service of death metal that rules with an iron fist; on Netherheaven Revocation are taking no prisoners.

These new songs are darker and more malevolent, at least in places, as befitting the album’s infernal themes. Revocation have doubled down on the death metal extremity, without sacrificing their engaging and sometimes downright catchy songwriting abilities or their impressive grasp of thrash metal dynamics.

Riven with melodic leads and solos, covered in spiked, jagged riffs, and shot through with blistering intensity, the songs tear, claw, and thrash their way through the album’s 45-minute running time with energy and enthusiasm. Revocation’s technical capabilities are never in doubt, (especially in the guitar department), but this skill only enriches the impact of the songs, never obscures it.

This obscenely enjoyable collection of death metal monsters culminates in the final song Re-Crucified, which boasts two guest singers – George ‘Corpsegrinder‘ Fisher of Cannibal Corpse and the late, great Trevor Strnad, (to whom this record is dedicated), from The Black Dahlia Murder. It’s a great way to end a strong album.

Netherheaven demonstrates Revocation’s death metal chops in no uncertain terms. For a high-profile album of well-written brutality and immersive songcraft, Revocation have achieved all of their goals.

Highly enjoyable and satisfying, and highly recommended.

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