You guys: Revocation are fuckin' ridiculous.
Winning today's coin toss, they get us started with their sixth album, Great Is Our Sin. Right away, it's clear that the boys from Boston have been working on locking down their formula: uncompromising nouveau-thrash riffs delivered with surgically precise musicianship. So what if the songs here lean ever-so-slightly toward either forgettability or easy familiarity. What Revocation have achieved here, once again, sets the bar for other musicians for whom riffing and shredding are still the bottom line (and sets it high). The closing Slayer cover is almost certainly a bribe for the judges, and it works.
I should also mention that Agoraphobic Nosebleed's three-song EP Arc is not to be underestimated. This nasty paean to illness, this cross between old Soundgarden, Clutch, and Deafheaven, is without question the heavier and more surprising of the two contestants today. I'm definitely feeling ANb more, in terms of emotional authenticity. It's not for nothing that they can earn as much favor in 27 minutes as Revocation does in almost twice that length. And yet, Great Is Our Sin's kitchen-sink approach nudges it ahead of Arc.
So, Revocation will go up against Obscura in two weeks. Meanwhile, tomorrow we end Week Three with an epic New York grudge match, between Anthrax and The Dillinger Escape Plan.