Disavowed-“Revocation of the Fallen” - Album Review
By Sasha Chrosciewicz
What do you get when you cross old school Unique Leader, mid-2000s technical metal wizardry, and melt it all down into a re-vamped, re-defined metal slab synthesis of immaculate brutal technical death metal? Well my friends, what you get is the brand new Disavowed album "Revocation of the Fallen". This album dropped out of the sky like an H-Bomb and is easily album of the year so far for me. Want to hear a bit about it? Frigging rights, let’s dive in!!
There must be something in the water in Holland, or the beer for that matter, because the Netherlands has always had their own unique array of heavy-hitting, trailblazing death metal. Going all the way back to the infamous tape trading days of the mid/late 1980s, when bands such as Pestilence, Sinister, Asphyx, God Dethroned, and Gorefest all put Holland on the map with innovative death metal that pushed extremities and created their own sonic landscapes. The grassroots of the early to mid-1990s gave rise to thickened low end, blistering speeds, and inhumane vocals of the niche sub-genre Brutal Death Metal. Influenced by these grassroots, there was a spawning of a plethora of iconic bands during the late 1990s / early 2000s including Severe Torture, Prostitute Disfigurement, Pyaemia, Arsebreed, Mass Murder, Brutus and of course, the almighty Disavowed.
After creating demos initially under the name Nocturnal Silence, they changed their name to Disavowed and released their 2001 debut “Perceptive Deception”. Released under Unique Leader, a new label then created by the late Deed’s of Flesh guitarist/founder Erik Lundmark, this monster of an album established them among a new breed of brutality. To this day diehard fans of the BDM (Brutal Death Metal) revere Disavowed’s debut as a testament to the scene, and one that has aged like a fine wine. Fast forward to 2007 when Disavowed went for that next level of brutality, trying to conquer unfathomable territory to outdo their ambitious debut; a feat often attempted but which bands rarely accomplish. With the additions of Daniel van der Broek and Romain Goulin, both of whom played in Arsebreed at the time, they broke the Richter Scale with an album of such magnitude that was titled, “Stagnant Existence”. This album was really in a league of its own. The band departed slightly from the minimalistic, simple, percussive, and bludgeoning of their debut in exchange for refined technicality without sacrificing catchiness or songwriting ingenuity. This brings us to the present day with the third installation of Disavowed…
From hearing the very first seconds of “Revocation of the Fallen,” you know what type of an album you’re in for. The opening track “The Process of Comprehension” wastes no time as the first riff of the song drops into gear and we have lift off. BOOM! Disavowed’s unrelenting, blistering, full-throttle, percussive, blasting attack is simultaneously punctuated by the signature scream of Robbe Kok. This is exactly what you want from a new Disavowed album! The excitement, and the energy. It’s all there! After the first two songs that are ripping, scorching tracks, we fall into a mid-tempo and almost progressive song. The track “Revocation of the Fallen” is a slower song that keeps building and building in a progressive sense, which is a song structure type that has never been on a Disavowed album before. It’s surprisingly refreshing in the context of the full album, and even rewarding. It perfectly lures in the listener, then right dead set in the middle of the song is one of the best riffs on the album. It’s a turning point transition riff with these dizzying guitar harmonies in Suffocation-esque notation that twists you inside-out and throws you into a groove (or slam riff as the kids call it these days) that sounds like a wrecking ball going through a mosh pit; completely pummeling everyone into oblivion. Track 4 “Imposed Afterlife” is my favourite track on the album. A ferocious song with lots of great dynamics and complimentary chemistry between instruments. Other progressive ideas come to light including track 6 “Therapeutic Dissonance” almost taking on a Death-like vibe but with Suffo harmonies.
The majority of the lineup of the band returns from “Stagnant Existence”, with the exception of Romain Goulin. In his place on the drums is the highly touted Turkish drummer Septimiu Hărşan (x-Pestilence) and he is, simply put, the perfect addition to Disavowed. On this album he shows technical prowess, crazy footwork, airtight blasts, and tasteful transitions. Gerben van der Bij and Daniel van der Broek return with their brilliant guitar work, where they show their well-structured riffing is tasteful and never overplayed. Riddled throughout the albums is excellent bass work, executed by one of the best bassist in the underground, Nils Berndsen. In my opinion this bass work is arguably the highlight of the whole album. Where the first two albums would have bass runs or flourishes here and there (slaps and pops)...this new album is just next level. Man, I’m almost speechless. Buy this album just for the bass work alone and notice the attention to detail with regards to songwriting. Midway through songs, as riffs repeat, different instruments do different things, but here the bass morphs and jumps at ease making the album such an enjoyable listen and exemplary showcase of bass being the integral glue of any music. Instead of just returning to blast beats for days, they chill and groove in certain songs, and in the end, it makes it a well-balanced offering of an album. There’s a part or two that are almost “Bree Bree” vocals! Now I’m sure I’ve lost some of you diehard old school Unique Leader fans, but just hold on a second. There are many moments that remind me of the old school “less is more” riffing brutality. Although you’ll have to take your elitist hats off, put down your ping-ping drums, and look past the
slick production to see it. Each song sounds fresh with new unique ideas while staying within the vein of Disavowed. Yet it’s also a new chapter; a new synthesized entity all in its own.
Disavowed took a lot of risks on this album and years down the road it will all pay off. “Revocation of the Fallen” has a lot more curveballs and surprises than I anticipated; at first the title track struck me as a slow burner, but after a few more listens it really grew on me. In the end, just like their first two albums, Disavowed achieves many cool, memorable moments that make this album infectious and easy to re-play over and over again. Each riff blends effortlessly together, hook after hook. This is very much along the lines of where “Stagnant Existence” left off but a more mature, dare I say modern offering. Modern with regards to production, as it’s a phenomenal sounding album, but also sonically. There’s a lot of new stuff here and I think these sounds will come across
successfully in a live setting.
They say good things come to those who wait and this is most definitely the case. So after a 13-year writing hibernation, Disavowed is continuing their natural evolution; crafting the perfect amalgamation of their unrelenting brutality, seamless signature song-writing, and perfect chemistry between the instruments and bandmates. Remember a band of this calibre is almost a thing of the past, and an album like this doesn’t fall from the sky every year. So now you have to do your part to not miss out on this soon-to-be classic. Be sure to get your fix and complete the Disavowed trifecta that should be in every Brutal Metalhead’s collection.
Sasha Scores Disavored’s “ Revocation of the Fallen” at 9.8/10
Brutal Mind: https://tinyurl.com/
1. The Process of Comprehension
2. The Enlightened One
3. Revocation of the Fallen
4. Imposed Afterlife
5. Deformed Construct
6. Therapeutic Dissonance
7. Defractured in Contemplation
8. Egocentric Entity
9. The Inevitable Outcome
10. Facing the Singularity