Every few years, a young metal band comes along and, without cutting ties to the genre's storied past, totally rips up the landscape and rebuilds the music in its own image. The lineage runs through Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Pantera, Mastodon, Lamb of God, arguably Trivium...and now, Revocation are one of those bands, an American group coming out swinging with an album that demands respect, as well as furious headbanging. Existence Is Futile isn't the group's debut; they self-released the almost as awesome Empire of the Obscene in 2008. But as most headbangers' first taste of this Boston act, it's destined to be an underground legend and, if Revocation choose the right package tours, could vault them into the big leagues in a hurry. They've got a classicism to their galloping, thrashy riffs and fleet, fluid guitar solos that recalls Lamb of God, but there are hookier melodies here, plus some surprisingly heavy, hardcore-derived gang shouts on some songs, and a bass break and dissonant riff toward the end of "Leviathan Awaits" that demonstrates an awareness of technical and progressive death metal, too. Their vocals are hoarse and guttural, while still recognizable as a human voice, something that will help keep them out of the death metal ghetto. Perhaps the most astonishing thing about Revocation, though, is that they're a trio. The complex guitar-bass interplay would seem to imply, even require, two guitarists, but there's just one guy up there, and he's singing, too. From the opening instrumental fanfare "Enter the Hall" to the seven-minute album closer, "The Tragedy of Modern Ages," this is one of the best pure metal albums of 2009.
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AllMusic Review by Phil Freeman