Nov 3, 2012

Revelation - "Inner Harbor" ...

While it’s probably just a mere coincidence, one can’t help but notice that Baltimore, Maryland doom legends, Revelation, have churned out—counting the 2009 self-titled release, aka the ‘Unreleased’ LP— a seventh full-length album that is somewhat of an anomaly amongst their discography just as Black Sabbath’s seventh album, ‘Technical Ecstasy’, marked the beginning of a noticeable departure form the signature Sabbath proto-doom sound. Not that Revelation are mere Sabbath clones, but the band admittedly draws much of their inspiration from the doomy, Iommian riffs of Black Sabbath and the progressive tendencies of Rush. Where one of the biggest faults of ‘Technical Ecstasy’ seems to lie in that album’s terribly thin production, Revelation’s ‘Inner Harbor’ maintains a thick and heavy sound that has graced the majority of the their releases.

One of the most noticeable elements of ‘Inner Harbor’ is that the songs are spacious and have more room to breathe compared to previous albums. Seemingly missing are the forlorn, dirge-like wall-of-sound meditations that made ‘For the Sake of No One’ and ‘Release’ so memorable. Instead, ‘Inner Harbor’ embraces even more deeply the progressive side of the band and perhaps blurs the identities of Revelation and their alter-ego, Against Nature. It’s always been difficult to classify Revelation as simply a doom band…they have always seemed to transcend the confines of genre conventions based on their synthesis of influences and their solid musicianship. Much of the spaciousness of ‘Inner Harbor’ can be attributed to the band’s focus on progressive rock opposed to the doom that many fans have grown accustomed to and to startling effect. ‘Inner Harbor’ may initially dash expectations, but that isn’t a bad thing at all.

Another element that really separates ‘Inner Harbor’ from the band’s previous works and, at the same time, exhibits more similarities with Black Sabbath’s ‘Technical Ecstasy’ is the pervasive use of keyboards. In the case of both bands it’s initially a tough pill to swallow due to the consistency of earlier recordings. In Sabbath’s case specifically the band wasn’t necessarily healthy or in working order and ultimately succumbed to drug use, weak production, and the use of keyboards or synths that didn’t quite coalesce like on previous albums. Revelation, on the other hand, have managed to craft songs where, f the use of keyboards, for the most part, act as accents to the tunes and provide additional atmosphere and vibes as is the case with the second track of the album, “Terribilita”.

Many consider ‘Technical Ecstasy’ as the beginning of the end of Ozzy-era Black Sabbath. The same cannot be said in regards to ‘Inner Harbor’ and Revelation. ‘Inner Harbor’ may take a few listens to fully appreciate the slight shift that the band has made from doom to more hard rock, progressive territory, but Revelation’s latest remains wholly and unmistakably a Revelation album. If there’s any album this year that deserves the tag of “grower” it’s ‘Inner Harbor’ which includes some of Revelation’s strongest compositions and is embedded with some blisteringly amazing guitar leads courtesy of John Brenner. ‘Inner Harbor’, as well as the rest of the band’s discography, is available for download through the band’s own Bland Hand Records website. Be sure to later this year either pick up the vinyl which is going to be released through Pariah Child Records or the CD through Shadow Kingdom Records.

Words: Steve Miller

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