Chaos of Forms (Relapse)
By Mike Delano
Revocation is better than your band. This may’ve been true in years past (depending on how shitty your band is), but it’s especially true in 2011 if you’re in a metal band trying to compete with this serious end-of-the-year best-of contender. The Boston group’s second album, Chaos of Forms, throws so many jaw-dropping riffs and solos at you during the first half of the album that the band even takes the instrumental equivalent of a stretch break (the fleet-fingered “Fractal Entity”) before the second half beatdown. Some of the album’s most interesting stuff is on that second half, like the eyebrow-raising but not entirely unpleasant prog freak-out on “The Watchers,” and the textured, forward-thinking modern sounds of “Dethroned,” which finds the band stepping outside of its death/thrash comfort zone to great effect. But the first half is hard to beat, stuffed as it is with fantastic riffs and even better solos, and put together with a knack for knowing how to juggle everything from blastbeats to Trivium-style clean vocals to tech-y workouts and make it sound brilliantly cohesive.