In recent years metal has become overwrought with sub-genres and labels attempting to classify every little niche style into something new and innovative. While I’m all for this, in this bastion of over-branding it seems that straight up American metal is becoming harder and harder to find. Sure, thrash is making a serious comeback as of late, and death metal is still going strong, but what happened to straight up, in your face, balls out American metal? Well, in a nutshell, Revocation happened. Ever since the release of their first album, Empire of the Obscene, I have been utterly obsessed with these guys. Dave Davidson is one seriously unfuckwithable guitarist and the band as a whole writes some of the catchiest and heaviest metal since the golden days of Pantera.
With Chaos of Forms, as is expected, the guys have upped the game yet again. This album slaps you around, knocks you down, and kicks your broken ass over and over again until you’re nothing but a writhing pile of bones on the ground. Not only that, but they have interwoven some pretty interesting genres and techniques into their fresh and badass brand of metal. If you ask me, these guys are the epitome of modern metal. It’s a culmination of everything great from the days of classic rock to the golden age of ’80s thrash to in your face death metal with a few extras thrown in for good measure. Davidson has brought the goods yet again, making his guitar sing like a beautiful piece of machinery. He is, in my opinion, one of the few guitarists who evokes real emotion through his guitar playing; every pluck of the string is a line in a story he is telling with his instrument, and it flows through you like a jolt of electricity.
Right out of the gate, Chaos of Forms pummels away at you. The opener, “Cretin”, is a metal anthem that sets the epic and fun mood perfectly. The first “single” off of the album, “Cradle Robber”, is as poetic and heavy as anything these guys have ever done, and the interplay of harmonics and whammy bar wankery is just plain fun and dazzling to listen to. I don’t think a guitarist has utilized the whammy bar as uniquely and creatively since good ol’ Dimebag Darrel revitalized the overused (*ahem* Kirk Hammett…) attachment.
CoF constantly keeps you on your toes with the addition of some really unexpected twists and turns in the music. “Dissolution Ritual” is another beefy and groove-laden tune that almost makes you want to dance, especially during the pseudo-waltz section in the bridge, while “Fractal Entity” borders on mathcore in the vein of Botch and Converge and catches you off guard with its dissonant approach to the normally melodic sound the band has cultivated over the years. There’s even a horn section and organ solo in the wonderfully weird track “The Watchers”, which oddly enough fits right in with the band’s increasingly esoteric style. They’ve taken everything from slow blues to waltzes to arabian dances to classic rock and blended it all into one surprisingly cohesive and forward-thinking metal record.
Another new element the guys have integrated into their sound is the use of “clean”
singing chanting in a few songs. It makes the already palpable choruses on the album all the more catchy and epic, most notably in “Cradle Robber” and “No Funeral”, which are as rife with groove and shreddage as anything released so far this year.
At this point I feel that it goes without saying that Davidson’s guitar work is fucking mesmerizing and as good as ever on this record. What’s really cool though—and what I was very apprehensive about before hearing the record—is the addition of guitarist Dan Gargiulo to the fold. As you can tell, I love Davidson’s playing and was especially awed by his singular approach to his songwriting in the past, so I was understandably a little weary of bringing in someone new who (I didn’t think) could match up to Dave. Well, I was wrong. Dan brings a refreshing and much needed dynamic to Revocation‘s epic brand of metal and really holds his own well. There are times I can barely tell the difference between the two as their back and forth is so in sync and well done. They play off of each other as if they share a brain; conversing together like old friends, each building off of the other’s lines and weaving together spellbinding melodies while keeping it heavy as all hell.
Overall Chaos of Forms is one seriously fun and heavy record. There’s something for everyone on the album and it constantly takes you in directions you never thought it would go. As with all Revocation albums, CoF is a guitarist’s wet dream, taking you on musical journeys only a certain few can pull off with a mere six strings. Being a drummer, it’s not often that I am wowed by a guitarist, but Dave is one of the very few who consistently leaves my jaw on the floor with his fantastic noodling “weedily weedily” guitar wankery. This is definitely one of the best records of the year so far and I can’t wait to see more of them on tour in the coming months. I can only hope that they continue to get more exposure and take themselves to new and unmatched heights along the way. Oh, and I almost forgot, you can listen to the ENTIRE ALBUM before it’s Tuesday release at Guitar World’s website right now! So do it, you literally have nothing to lose, except maybe 45 minutes of your time, but trust me, it’s so very worth it.
Chaos of Forms – 9.3/10
2. Cradle Robber
4. Dissolution Ritual
5. Conjuring the Cataclysm
6. No Funeral
7. Fractal Entity
8. Chaos of Forms
9. The Watchers
10. Beloved Horrifier
Favorite Song: No Funeral
Chaos of Forms noodles its way onto shelves tomorrow, August 16th, via Relapse Records.