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Revocation - "Existence Is Futile" (CD)

Revocation - "Existence Is Futile" CD cover image

"Existence Is Futile" track listing:

1. Enter The Hall (2:27)
2. Pestilence Reigns (4:33)
3. Deathonomics (3:42)
4. Existence Is Futile (4:50)
5. The Brain Scramblers (3:11)
6. Across Forests And Fjords (4:16)
7. ReaniManiac (3:18)
8. Dismantle The Dictator (3:57)
9. Anthem Of The Betrayed (5:16)
10. Leviathan Awaits (4:48)
11. Tragedy Of Modern Ages (7:03)

Reviewed by on October 15, 2009

"This is simply how modern thrash metal should be done; no needless breakdowns, no weak shouts that have been studio-enhanced and no tired acoustic introductions. "

These past few months have seen an extraordinary wave of metal releases. Megadeth, The Black Dahlia Murder, Immortal and The Gates Of Slumber are just a few of the dozens of bands who have put out new albums that have garnished acclaim from both critics and their respective fan bases. With all the endless metal being thrown at the casual fan, a situation has arisen where lesser-known bands are getting overlooked in favor of more established acts. With a few notable releases from Slayer, Nile and Hypocrisy in the near future, it looks highly unlikely that this is going to change anytime soon.

These circumstances only become more apparent with the quiet release of Revocation’s sophomore album “Existence Is Futile.” Only on the radar of a few select die-hard thrash metal maniacs, “Existence Is Futile” looks poised to rise to a level slightly above obscure, but way below mainstream recognition; a cult favorite that would never get the spotlight.

However, Revocation is able to defy all the odds stacked against them by releasing a phenomenal follow-up to last year’s “Empire Of The Obscene.” Blending together elements of technical, death, and thrash, Revocation has created an album that does the unthinkable; appeals to a mass audience instead of a specific group. Modern metal fans, old-school thrashers, underground music aficionados; there isn’t a group that won’t find at least one appealing characteristic about “Existence Is Futile.”

Revocation’s sound is thick, powerful, and aggressive, keeping a relentless pace from beginning to end. Melody is at the forefront of every note played, making for an undeniably catchy vibe that hazes above the album. The sheer amount of variety keeps the album moving at a brisk speed. The band’s 80s thrash attitude comes out on “The Brain Scramblers” and “Dismantle The Dictator,” while the band sneaks in a little upbeat power metal on “Anthem Of The Betrayed.” The harsh raspy vocals that accompany the music compliment nicely with the topical and social lyrical commentaries.

The flashy instrumental work plays heavily into “Existence Is Futile.” “Enter The Hall” and “Across Forests And Fjords” are instrumentals with thumping bass, precise drumming and neo-classical guitar solos abounds. The band is more than capable with their instruments, bringing a technical flavor to the modern thrash sound. Guitarist David Davidson is the stand-out performer, putting on a clinic of rapid-fire riffs and soaring leads that never fails to impress. Every song has one stand-out moment from Davidson that leaves an imprint in the listener’s mind. His performance immediately marks him as one of the best guitarists in metal today.

It isn’t every day that a surprisingly excellent album comes out of the blue, but that is just what “Existence Is Futile” turns out to be. This is simply how modern thrash metal should be done; no needless breakdowns, no weak shouts that have been studio-enhanced and no tired acoustic introductions. Revocation builds off their debut and releases a scorcher that feels shorter than its running length of 47 minutes. The album flies by, leaving the listener with no other choice than to go at it again, only this time with the volume much higher. In a year where Alice In Chains became relevant again and Shadows Fall tried to regain some credibility, Revocation is one of the few metal bands bringing anything fresh to the table. “Existence Is Futile” is one of the best albums of the year, an astonishing display of brilliant songwriting and ear-shattering technicality.

Highs: Superb guitar work, tight rhythm section, perfect blend of thrash, technical, and death, relentless pace.

Lows: The raspy vocals don't match up well with a few of the more melodic tracks.

Bottom line: "Existence Is Futile" is one of the best modern thrash albums of the year and a worthwhile addition to any serious metalhead's collection.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)