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Revenge – Strike.Smother.Dehumanize

by Cherie Wong at 16 July 2020, 11:42 AM

On May 22, 2020, REVENGE released “Strike.Smother.Dehumanize.” REVENGE was formed by J. Read around 2000 in Canada following the end of CONQUEROR. “Strike.Smother.Dehumanize” is their sixth full-length album, released five years after 2015’s “Behold.Total.Rejection.” “Behold.Total.Rejection” was REVENGE's first release after signing on to Season of Mist and was well-received, as well-received as a polarizing band like REVENGE could be at any rate.

Though I am not too familiar with REVENGE, I was lucky enough to see them at Maryland Deathfest 2019. It was madness. If you are not familiar with the band, know that they call their music Chaos Black Metal for good reason. This isn’t the average atmospheric or melodic type of black metal, it is loud, hateful, and punishing. The riffs are jarring, dissonant, and lack melody. Bass guitar grounds the music as much as it can with a low constant rumble. The drums are a frenzy of noise, though with enough variety between the blast beats and more measured rhythms. The delirious vocals and random snarling really tie the music together.

No pretty intro track here, “Reaper Abyss (Real Rain)” kicks off the album with unintelligible screaming and blast beats. Bestial snarls are added intermittently to cause further discomfort to the listener. A bit of guitar shredding without melody finishes the track. “Oath Violator” is similar, but slows to a chugging and heavy section in the middle of the track, before returning to the chaos. Without this, the music would quickly become too monotonous. “Salvation Smothered (Genocide Of Flock)” has comparatively more groove than the previous tracks, which is also a great element because it offers a bit of a reprieve for the listener. Things continue in much the same way for most of the album. “Excommunication” does stand out from the rest as a short, fun, punk track. If you make it far enough to the last track, “Apostasy Imposed (Takeover Mode),” without pause, then kudos to you. REVENGE is kick ass music, but it is ruthlessly punishing.

Overall, I recommend this album to fans of CONQUEROR and BLASPHEMY, or any other extremely “noisy” band. I would also recommend it for fans of “Behold.Total.Rejection,” as “Strike.Smother.Dehumanize” is a logical successor. Don't put this album on expecting a show of technical mastery, an emotional journey, or easy listening. “Strike.Smother.Dehumanize” is fury and vitriol expressed in musical form.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 9
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Reaper Abyss (Real Rain)
2. Reign Power (Above All Born)
3. Oath Violator
4. Salvation Smothered (Genocide Of Flock)
5. Human Animal
6. Excommunication
7. Lightning Mythos
8. Self Segregation (System Torched)
9. Death Hand (Strike Dehumanization)
10. Apostasy Imposed (Takeover Mode)
J. Read – Drums/Vocals/Effects
Vermin – Session Guitar/Bass/Effects
Record Label: Season Of Mist


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Edited 28 May 2023

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