Friday, August 28, 2009

Retroview: Revenant


A couple months ago the Sarg forgot about neon t-shirts, scene haircuts, and emo crunk long enough to give a stirring tribute to New Jersey Death Metal legends Ripping Corpse. Today, I'd like to focus your attention on another equally underappreciated Garden State Death Metal band--Revenant. Revenant was formed back in 1986 in beautiful Bergenfield, New Jersey. They released three cassette demos and a 7" single throughout the late 80s (I've never heard any of them, but they're probably awesome. If you have mp3s of them, you should send them to me) and actually played their first show with Metal Inquisition favorites Mucky Pup! Just Like their Jersey bros in Ripping Corpse, Revenant released their only full length album in 1991 and they've never received the praise and respect they deserve.


Remember back when bands looked this awesome?


Prophecies of a Dying World--is one of the best death metal albums ever released, period! None of that overproduced, super technical, hyperfast modern death metal bullshit. Revenant is 100% old school death metal. Thick, thrashy riffs, jackhammer drumming, and nasty as fuck vocals. The production is perfect--heavy, but still clear enough to make out every cymbal hit. Think early Death, but heavier and more epic. The songs tend to be on the longer side for death metal with the shortest song coming in at just under 5 minutes and the longest one approaching the 8 minute mark. This would spell certain doom for most death metal bands, but Revenant never runs out of steam or ideas. They just continue to bring it with riff after awesome riff amounting to almost an hour long pummeling. If you're a fan of Ripping Corpse, old Immolation, and the like you'll lose your shit when you hear this album. I promise.


I bet this show was sick!

Unfortunately like Ripping Corpse, cover art was not Revenant's strong suit. Though it's not nearly as bad as the cover of Dreaming With the Dead, it's still pretty lame. I understand that Revenant was trying to convey an image of the titular dying world, but a photograph of a barren landscape with orange clouds and a pile of branches in the foreground just doesn't do this album justice. If you're going to go with a landscape you might as well use a Georgia O'Keeffe.



A foolproof way to piss off your neighbors!


Shortly after the release of Prophecies of a Dying World, Revenant parted ways with Nuclear Blast Records. They went on to release another 7" single as well as another demo, and in 1995 they completed their final recording--the Overman EP, which wasn't released until 2002. So as shitty bands like Cannibal Corpse and At the Gates rose to prominence in the death metal scene Revenant faded into obscurity. There's no justice in this word, just Metal Inquisition.

While touring Europe in support of Prophecies of a Dying World, Revenant shot a video for "The Unearthly." It was premiered on Headbanger's Ball in the spring of '92 and featured on the first Death...Is Just the Beginning compilation.





And here's a bonus live video of Revenant performing their hit song "The Unearthly."


44 comments:

  1. Never heard of Revenant, but I'm digging "The Unearthly." Thank a lot for the rec, I'll be adding these guys to my "Bands to Check Out" list.

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  2. As far as bad album covers go, this still has nothing on Dark Angel's Leave Scars. I really can't think of a worse metal album cover than that.

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  3. "There's no justice in this world, just Metal Inquisition."

    Fuck yeah, dude.

    Fuck yeah.

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  4. @Matt: What about Metal Church's "Hanging in the Balance?" That's got my vote for the worst cover ever.

    Also, anyone else that this is the first old-school death metal coverage we've gotten on MI in a while?

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  5. well, the sarge is preoccupied with his scene lifestyle and lucho is busy being a lame old man that likes to reminisce about how metal he used to be and his brother is even worse than him so that leaves the old school death metal coverage to me and since i'm too lazy to post with any kind of frequency you're just going to have settle for whatever you get!

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  6. this guy jake is from the states and he's never heard of them. I'm a 23 year old greek and last month i was listening to revenant for 3-4 dayw in a row, a band I know for the last ten years! See how times machines work here in greece?!

    Actually the real reason is that their label was european and every metalhead here owns a cheap nuclear blast compilation.

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  7. I have to make clear here that I'm not an old school death metal fan or something. I've never listened to "Leprosy" for example.

    The compilation which spread the word in Europe is this one http://rateyourmusic.com/release/comp/various_artists_f2/10_years_nuclear_blast/ , not "Death...Is Just the Beginning"

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  8. * http://rateyourmusic.com/release/comp/various_artists_f2/10_years_nuclear_blast/

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  9. @ Jake, good point. I never dug Metal Church so I wasn't familiar with it but after looking it up - oh boy. Still, I think the edge goes to Leave Scars just because it (like their other awful record covers) ensured that Dark Angel would never get the respect they deserved in the thrash metal scene.

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  10. I'd forgotten about these days. I still have their album in my stash, but haven't listened to it in probably 10 years. When I did a big cleanout some years ago, I never considered this one for chucking out - it's great! (As far as I recall.)

    I might dig it out for another listen...

    Another grossly underappreciated band from that time is Deathrow... check out their album Deception Ignored. Way ahead of its time, and brilliant.

    Thanks for reminding me about Revenant!

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  11. Typo: I'd forgotten about these GUYS, not days. Mostly I can remember the early 90s. Though not all...

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  12. "Actually the real reason is that their label was european and every metalhead here owns a cheap nuclear blast compilation."

    Exactly.

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  13. i have this; thought it was then and now!

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  14. i mean; thought it was GREAT then and now!

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  15. Wow, "The Unearthly" is amazing! Looks like it's time to add another album to my desperately-searching-for-but=never-will-find list.

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  16. www.myspace.com/semendrenchedslaveofthedevil

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  17. When talking about the worst cover ever you really have to take a look at Monstrosity's Millenium cover. It was their second album, and without that cover I honestly think they would have gotten alot bigger as the album is ridiculously good. Unfortunately it's so bad, you didn't even want to be seen carrying the album around because you would immediately feel the urge to stadt making excuses for why you had something so embarrasingly horrible in you possesion.

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  18. Also, anyone else that this is the first old-school death metal coverage we've gotten on MI in a while?

    Yeah, I have been thinking about this. We need to get back to our roots! I will be focusing on this genre in the very near future!

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  19. I thought these guys were from Pennsylvania? Anyway, Paul Ledney at some point played in this band. I wonder if he suggested nude photo shoots.

    I enjoy topics like this, Gene. Now do a retrospective review of Morgue's "Eroded Thoughts".
    http://rapidshare.com/files/251724903/Morgue93.rar

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  20. wait wait....Mr Gene Hoglan's Balls uses a post about freaking Revenant to complain about how I dwell on how good metal used to be? Revenant put out their album in 1991...and I'M the one stuck in the past. I'll let this one slide.

    Putting that aside, I like that their EP uses the newly revised and correct translation of Nietzsche's "Ubermensch"...Overman, not Superman.

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  21. oh, and in the song the Unearthly, he talks about molecules alot. why did death metal bands have such a complex about being simpletons from semi-rural areas (or places like New Jersey) and try to compensate by writing lines like that?

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  22. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  23. i'm just busting your balls, lucho. if there's anything we can agree on here at MI it's that death metal peaked in the early 90s and has taken a nosedive since. i'd recommend reading the biography on the revenant site (it's a GEOCITIES website--talk about being stuck in past). check out this gem:

    "In the spring of 1993, New York-based Rage records released the 'Burning Ground / Exalted Being' 7- inch e.p. The release showcased shorter, more aggressive songs as well as one of the group's more political songs, 'The Burning Ground.' The lyrics of 'The Burning Ground' combined the classical Greek mythological figure of Prometheus with the horrors unleashed by modern technology against peoples and individuals. The song was dedicated to the victims of the Chernobyl disaster. An unreleased song from the same sessions, entitled 'Infinite Reality' reflected the group's growing interest in physics and astronomy (around this time the group also performed a cover of Rush's 'Cygnus X-1' at various concerts)."

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  24. I'm all about the Rush cover....but regarding the other song...I'm sure the families of the all who died in Chernovyl heard the song and said "uh...thanks, you can have it back. its okay"

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  25. As a death metal expert, I must admit my ignorance about Revenant. I own "Prophecies of a dying world", but I purchased the vinyl in the early 2000s just for collection purposes.
    I listened to it a few times, It didn't catch my attention, but I'm sure if it was 1992 it could have been different...because I use to reminisce, just like Lucho.

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  26. Yeah that was a kick ass album, and yeah that cover sucks balls.

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  27. That photo of them jamming outside is hilarious!

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  28. aren't dillenger escape plan from NJ? Now that's a band that's up and coming!

    a mortal decay retroview would be nice to!

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  29. Is iTunes really the only place to get this record? What if I actually want to buy the CD?

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  30. God that video is such a ripoff of Kreator's classic "Toxic Trace" right down to the closeups of Veg!
    Saw this video when I first bought the Death Is Just The Beginning home video in 1992 and just like then, I still can't watch the video all the way through, the colors just suck and its awful...
    Back when I purchased allot of releases yet smart enough not to pick up those from Broken Hope or Cannibal, I purchased this from a very very infantile Relapse Records when they were still just a mailorder company! Thought this record sucked then and don't think my opinion would change now!?
    Although a few tracks did standout!

    If you guys are interested, I have an interview I did via the mail with Henry Veggian back in 1992 for a zine I was planning on putting out!
    Let me know if you want me to transcribe it for the blog?

    I assume he is a chemist now or something considering he was all into physics and all this other shit he mention in the interview?
    LEE

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  31. And the 7" you mentioned was released on Rage Records in 1995...

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  32. Revenant and Old Lady Drivers (O.L.D. depending on the release) both came out of Bergenfield NJ. I spent two years of my life that I will never get back in that shithole town.

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  33. BTW...
    If anyone is interested in buying a pristine copy of the original Nuclear Blast pressing of the "Prophecies Of A Dying World" CD e-mail me!
    It was maybe played 5 times? I have many other CD's, LP's, and original demos I am looking to sell, from rare Morbid Angel vinyl, on down! -LEE


    E-mail me - hesdeadlee69@gmail.com

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  34. Yo man, when are you guys going to talk about Joizy boys Fury of Five?!?

    BORN TO LOSE...

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  35. "maybe the world wasn't ready" the german guy states in the beginning of the video... Ready for what? A mixture of 80's thrash and totally generic early 90's death metal? But hey, that's how they all fucking sounded back in 92! Usually agrees with the Inquisition, but not this time. And btw, didn't John McEntee play with with Revenant? Because Incantation kicks their arse anytime.

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  36. You guys should do a where are they now on the members of Revenant.

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