Revocation – Chaos Of Forms

By Craig Haze

If Chaos Of Forms doesn’t push Revocation to the front of the technical thrash pack this year it will be an utter tragedy. Their new album is a leap forward creatively with riffs and solos galore, all delivered with mathematical precision. Blending meticulously structured thrash, jazzy breakdowns, vintage flashes (horns and 70s keyboards)—all embellished with a technically progressive finish—Chaos Of Forms is stunningly complex, completely vicious and, above all else, a hugely confident release.

Much has been made of lead vocalist and guitarist David Davidson’s prodigious composing talent, and there’s no doubt about his skills with the deft touches and eccentric flourishes to be found here (not that there was really any doubt after wowing folks with Existence is Futile). But I guess the question remained how Revocation were going to top that. Well, they’ve done so by drawing inspiration from even further across the metal spectrum—early and latter-day thrash, metalcore, progressive death and countless eccentric pioneers such as Cynic, Atheist, or Devin Townsend—and then adding in their own particularly idiosyncratic flavor to craft a sound that they can rightly claim as somewhat pioneering.

From the instant the first track “Cretin” begins the level of songwriting floors you. “Cradle Robber”, “Harlot” and “Dissolution Ritual” roar past, filled with loads of killer solos and changes of pace (and style) that twist the head-down rampage to one of more power-metal leanings and back again. The whole album is unconventional, with nods to metal icons like Iron Maiden, Megadeth and Pantera, as well as maintaining the unpredictability of unconventional artists from outside the metal realm. Jazzier, off-kilter passages litter the album, and there’s a reckless impulsiveness that’d make Zappa damn proud.

Revocation doesn’t get preoccupied with simply battering the listener (although if you want unmistakable aggression there’s plenty on offer) but they do balance the belligerence with cunning subtlety. Special mention has to go to “The Watchers”, where those aforementioned keys and horns add fantastic texture to the song; “Chaos Of Forms”, which has a disjointed math-rock propulsion (with gorgeous little classic metal tweaks); and “Reprogrammed”, which finishes the album with a suitably riotous display.

Revocation are clearly leaders in the field. Although how you’d describe that field is up for debate. Thrash icons in the making—no doubt about that—but that doesn’t adequately note the blatant quirkiness that makes the band so damn good. Chaotic math-core perhaps? Well that leaves out the huge influence of power and neo-classical metal outfits. Who knows really? Do they even need categorizing? What matters most is that Revocation have come up with up a bit of a game changer.

There was a time, back in the day, where it routinely took a band three albums to find its sound and define its aesthetic. I hope that Revocation have found theirs on the new album because Chaos Of Forms fucking slays. Other bands are going to have to work very hard to get anywhere close to the innovative work Revocation have produced here. While Existence is Futile left people stumbling around for superlatives, this one will leave you totally flummoxed.

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Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.