Taking things a little too far
You know, I’ve ranted on here a bit in the past about bands being a throwback or a copy of a style or genre, and whilst that can be good, particularly when done well, sometimes, when you go down that path, you really are putting yourself behind the eight ball to begin with. It makes it, in my mind at least, a harder road to conquer to really come out on top. An example of doing it well is the most recent Entrails album – The Tomb Awaits. These guys absolutely nailed it with their Entombed-esque sound so much so that they’ve been picked up by Metal Blade Records. But it’s not always that cut and dried.
When you take your name from a song from a very well known pioneering Scandinavian death metal act and then name an album based on another song from another very well known pioneering Scandinavian death metal act, well, I have to wonder just how much originality will be contained within the ten tracks that make up this debut long player. The band is Germany’s Revel in Flesh – a name lifted from the classic Entombed number of the same name which appeared on their 1989 debut Left Hand Path). Further, the album is called Deathevokation which is taken from the song of the same name from Dismember’s 1991 debut Like An Ever Flowing Stream; a song which was in fact originally done by pre-Dismember group Carnage the year before.
See what I mean when paying homage goes a little too far? It really puts the pressure on to deliver something special within the clearly define genre hence my comment before about an uphill battle. So, my raving rant aside, the core is still what is contained within, and the 47 minute barrage of death metal on offer here is solid at best. Perhaps my expectations were unfairly high to begin with based on “judging a book by its cover”. I was into the death metal scene when bands like Entombed and Dismember released their debut LPs, so I think it’s fair to say that anything within this genre these days would need to be relatively mind blowing to really have any kind of impact. Anything else and it’s a drop in the ocean.
Sadly, for all of the ripping buzzsaw guitars, crushing riffs and whatever else you should expect from Scandinavian death metal, Revel in Flesh’s debut is nothing more than Swedish death metal by numbers. The thing is with an album like this these days is that it fails to leave a lasting impression. It’s heavy, it’s this, and it’s that but after multiple listens, I couldn’t recall a single thing I’d heard. Considering all the other things here that make up this package, for a first round effort, Revel In Flesh is relatively forgettable. I admire the respect they are putting together here and their obvious passion for ‘90’s Swedish death metal is unquestionable. It just needs something to make it unique so that in 20 years time when the next wave of Swedish death metal acts appears, that we can go back and mention a band like this in the same sentence as the genre’s pioneers. Until then, unless bands like early Entombed and Dismember are the essence of your metal diet, you can pass these guys up for now.