Pillars of Balance
Brutal/Technical Death Metal
Technical/brutal death metal has never really interested me, with the only band that had an impact on me being Finland’s Demilich, but even then, the material was seldom revisited, since I personally prefer more straightforward old school death metal instead. Revilement, however, managed to capture my attention, being the first brutal death metal band that I encounter from Taiwan that also includes Canadian vocalist Joe Reviled, and also after being exposed to the more black metal side of the country. Pillars of Balance is the band’s debut full length album, and the first personal encounter with the band’s brand of death metal.
An almost disjointed riffing pattern with blistering speed greets the listener as album opener Pillars of Balance introduces first time listeners to Revilement‘s style, and Joe Reviled’s vocals soon come in, a low gurgled growl, a goregrind style of vocals, belting out undecipherable lyrics yet making it sound as if it were a fourth instrument, along with the guitars, bass and drums, and instantly, bands such as Suffocation are brought to mind. The technicality in the band’s music is obvious throughout the album, with the at times odd time signatures and almost progressive song structures that are present, along with the complex riffing of guitarist Allen and the drumming of Billy. The play on cymbals on tracks like Pillars of Balance definitely help to make the album all the more interesting, aside from the usual blasting that albums such as these contain, and his ability to easily shift between different pace and style almost make him sound machine-like, and shows his flair on the instrument. Songs like Terminal Sedation further allows Allen to display his capabilities, with the combination of quick finger-work and weird tempos.
This is not to say that the album is a complete speed-fest as the band also takes a brutal direction as well on some tracks, choosing to slow down and increase the element of heaviness in the music, like on Pity the Humans, where the whole band slows down and the entire band focusses on the intensity in the music and atmosphere. On songs like Terminal Sedation and Tail Devouring Serpent, the band also manages to create a feeling of unease in the listener, with the slow buildup to a climax towards the end of the song, and Path of Apophis even includes an acoustic guitar introduction, and contains some of the more melodic moments on the album. The production quality of the album is also sufficiently raw and even slightly hollow, though not to the extent where clipping becomes immediately obvious and everything becomes nothing but mud, and this helps in making the album sound all the more authentic and organic, and less sterile at the same time. Despite so, each and every instrument is clearly audible on the album, even the rumbling bass of Vic that runs beneath the chaos of Allen’s guitars and Billy’s drums.
Also included on the album are re-recordings of the tracks on the band’s previous EP, Human Vivisection, giving listeners a taste of material that the band wrote earlier in their career, with a seemingly higher focus on speed more than anything else and a heightened sense of urgency compared to their newer songs, though the technicality and brutality of the band is also present. Overall, Pillars of Balance is an enjoyable album for fans of technical and brutal death metal, and places them on the map of Asian death metal, along with bands like Japan’s Defiled.
Pillars of Balance is now available at the HMT distro.
Interview with Revilement