Welcome to chapter five of my Album of the Year 2018 top 30 countdown. Four records already in the can and this list is starting to shape up rather nicely I think. Already, my list is about as eclectic as it could be given my love of heavier guitar-based music above all else. If you’re looking for the odd random jazz disc or pop album nestled within this series, you’ll be sorely disappointed. However, what you will find is a little bit of everything from classic prog rock to the more extreme ends of the heavy metal spectrum throughout my 30 choices. So buckle up and enjoy the ride.
If you’ve missed the previous picks in this series so far, links to these can be found at the bottom of this post.
On with the main event – here’s my next pick:
‘The Outer Ones’
Metal Blade Records
Score of Much Metal: 9.25
All too often, death metal can come across as being a little one-dimensional. Yes, I enjoy a good dose of unrelenting brutality as much as the next person (don’t we all?!) but more often than not, I want something a little more. And that’s where Revocation come in, with their latest effort, ‘The Outer Ones’.
This is one of those rare extreme metal records with aggression and sinister intent buried deep in its heart that actually gets better and better with regular rotation. It is, at first glance, an uncompromising slab of death metal, with all those extreme metal trappings that we all love. But nestled within the explosive blasbeats, fast spiralling solos and grunted vocals, there’s a more experimental vein that allows melody and subtlety to play a surprisingly integral role in the record.
This has all meant that I have become smitten with this record and, the more I listen to it, the more I like it. In fact, over the past few days alone it has risen from being on the cusp of not making my end of year list, to becoming firmly entrenched within it. It is the sophistication within the compositions that I think makes this such a clever, intelligent record whilst also maintaining the ability to melt my face. Surely that has to be a winning combination?
To quote my review of 23 September 2018:
“It goes without saying to a certain extent that, at its core, ‘The Outer Ones’ undoubtedly remains an extreme metal record, with strong death metal overtones and a hint or two of thrash as well. But mixed in with this are a number of other important influences, some previously explored and some new.
What’s particularly striking about ‘The Outer Ones’ is how immediate it is for what is intrinsically a powerful extreme metal record. And I really, really like that. You all know by now that melodic intent receives a big thumbs up from me, so this has been a positive revelation.
Any band that can fuse together an uncomfortable dissonant atmosphere with a sheen of warmth and some welcoming melodic flourishes has my respect, a feat achieved by Revocation within ‘Fathomless Catacombs’.
Listening to an album like this should be exhausting, draining and daunting. However, in the hands of these accomplished musicians, ‘The Outer Ones’ instead is an enthralling experience. Every spin is greeted with a sense of anticipation and more often than not, I am rewarded with a new discovery, be it subtle or more overt in nature. And best of all, the music doesn’t feel impenetrably heavy and extreme. Simply put, with ‘The Outer Ones, Revocation are a revelation.”
Read the full review here.
If you missed the previous posts in my 2018 list, click here:
If you missed my ‘best EPs and compilations of 2018, you can read that here:
And here’s a reminder of my countdown series from previous years: