This album came out a left field and hit me with a stiff jab. I should have known that Facedown/Strike First would not put out a sub-par release or artist for that matter. I do not know where they find all these bands but kudos for them. This five-piece out of Tennessee does not disappoint.
The album opens up with a great “Intro” that really sets the tone of complete brutality for the whole album. This is one of the better death metal albums I have heard in quite a while. Jackson Greene does an excellent job on lead vocals. He has a great range and can really belt out the higher screams and then drop down into some deep guttural growls that will leave you with your mouth hanging open. The music on Revival is top notch too. This album is chocked full of great riffs and earth shaking double bass. One of the things I liked most about the album was the bass that this album puts out. For us older metal heads, we might want to turn down the subwoofer a little or else the wife and kids will be screaming at us.
I felt that Revival is so much more than just excellent vocals and brutal breakdowns though. To me it was all about the message behind the lyrics. As Hell Retreats really comes at you hard with some “righteous anger” aimed at “commercialized” Christianity. They do not pull any punches and do not use vague references of a higher power in their message either. In “Contradiction,” Greene growls, “If we’re supposed to be one nation under God / Why are we denying the blind? / Why are we denying the sick? / My God, we are not under you. / We are the disease. / We are listed under the disease. / American Christianity is a disease.” In “Poor God,” this anger is aimed at the use of God’s name for violence, “Poor God, I’ve given up on him. / Poor God, for His name is being used for / Malice and Violence./ I’m going to try to pour God, back in my life./ And I’ll fight, and I’ll fight, and not hide.” To me this album is all about the message as opposed to the music. This anger also adds to the brutality of the album.
This album is extremely well produced; however, I wish that the songs could have been a little longer. Quite a few songs are under three minutes long. In addition, with only nine tracks on the album, I was a little surprised that two of them were instrumentals. Oh well, As Hell Retreats more than makes up for that with the rest of the album.
Overall: This is a great album from yet another great Facedown artist. As Hell Retreats is not lacking in talent and passion, which makes this album a must buy for any death metal or metal fan. If you like brutal breakdowns and great screaming, then this is the album for you.
For fans of: The Crimson Armada, In The Midst Of Lions, Impending Doom