Sound — 9
Maintaining their stride with a dazzling and consistent streak of stellar metal performances since their debut, Revocation have quickly ascended to the top of the tech-death latter this decade, and made doing it look easy. Just in the span of the past three years, the band have gone from dishing out a viciously straightforward offering of death metal in their self-titled fourth album, quickly following it up with their fifth album, "Deathless," which, from the jazz-inspired interludes akin to Obscura, to an increase in technical riffing and track runtimes, has been their most prog-minded effort thus far.
Now on their sixth album, "Great Is Our Sin," Revocation continue to tend to their numerous pillars of metal influence. They throw down plenty of grinding, pneumatic death metal riffs in "Arbiters of the Apocalypse" and "Theatre of Horror," and for keeping in touch with their classic metal inspirations, they break out the wah pedal in the vintage solo of "Only the Spineless Survive" (which is promptly followed by a groove metal midtempo outro), and summon former Megadeth lead guitarist Marty Friedman to play a stellar guest solo on the vocal-less "The Exaltation."
If anything, though, "Great Is Our Sin" shows Revocation wanting to flex their prog-metal muscles more. Though the lighter instrumental sections that were heard in "Deathless" are scarce here, the album focuses much more on dexterous tech riffs (heard abundantly in the odd-measured antics of "Monolithic Ignorance" and "Crumbling Imperium"), and clean vocals come up a bit more frequently, with the cryptic murmuring in "Profanum Vulgus" sounding synonymous with Gojira's clean vocal usage in their new album. And in "Copernican Heresy" and "Cleaving Giants of Ice," Revocation opt more for that prog-metal guitar tone of triumphant resonance rather than just relying on their baseline metal crunch.
Lyrics — 6
Keeping up with his penchant for sociopolitical commentary, it's not a far-fetched guess to say that frontman David Davidson's choice to name the album "Great Is Our Sin" was intended as a biting reference to Donald Trump's presidential campaign slogan "Make America Great Again." Davidson's lyrics in the album don't particularly aim its sights on Trump any further, but the focus on chastising populations that willingly choose to be uninformed (heard in the allusion to climate change deniers in "Monolithic Ignorance" and the "religion over science" dogma of "Copernican Heresy") certainly ties in with Trump's support. Davidson also continues to scream and shout about the corrupt elite in "Only the Spineless Survive" ("Intoxicated, so easily coerced / Drunk on the power that corrupts") and "Profanum Vulgus" ("Building towers of vanity / Shielded from consequence"), but compared to the voracity and specificity of his lyrics in Revocation's previous two albums, his commentary this time around is fairly bland.
Overall Impression — 8
With their top-notch instrumental prowess being a reliable constant, Revocation's inclination to make sure each album that successes the last does so with nuance in its offering of metal styles. From the dynamic and lengthy likes of "Deathless," Revocation fashion "Great Is Our Sin" as a meeting point of the old and new, and with moments investing much more in heady tech riffing and righteous guitar tones, they still keep a foot in their proper stomping grounds of grinding death metal and throwback thrash/groove metal sections, making "Great Is Our Sin" a pretty damn well-rounded offering of extreme metal.