Emissary of All Plagues by Revel in Flesh

Release date: December 2, 2016
Label: Cyclone Empire Records

I’ve been a casual admirer of Revel in Flesh’s body of work. I have copies of their prior records, namely Deathevokation, and Manifested Darkness. So, when I saw Revel in Flesh’s promo available for review purposes, I snatched it immediately, somewhat excited to hear that the band has released another album.

It’s been several months since I acquired their latest record on promo called Emissary of All Plagues, and it finally reached its turn for an in-depth listen and subsequent review. What’s immediately noticeable from Emissary of All Plagues is that the band has not departed its niche segment with their latest record. Revel in Flesh presents with some experimentation and innovation on the Swedish death metal style. On prior records like Deathevokation, they don’t simply do another tribute to Dismember, so the album title Deathevokation can be somewhat misleading, but their roots and primary influences are unquestionably rooted in nineties Swedish death metal, just like Dismember, in spite of the two bands sounding somewhat dissimilar. You wouldn’t swear that they were the same band. Comparably, Revel in Flesh has reached a point in its life cycle where they continue to create quality Swedish death metal that Dismember no longer sustains.

While it is certain that Like An Ever Flowing Stream cannot be redone, or even more so, outdone, the large body of work Dismember has created towards the latter years of their tenure consists of many forgettable albums. Indecent and Obscene is just good enough to inspire comparison, and Dismember’s other albums like Massive Killing Capacity, have been unfairly scrutinized for the change in direction. Predominantly, they have tried to stay true to their roots while occasionally doing some experimentation. While fellow Swedish death metal titan, Entombed, was exploring simpler but catchier riffery with Wolverine Blues, Dismember tried to do the same to the tune of a collectively different public perception.

And, while the Dismember comparisons are frequently made by many Swedeath admirers, those comparisons to Dismember are as predictable these days as any people can make between a band and some of the sub-genre’s best bands. To note, Revel in Flesh is distinct for its own style of Swedish death metal and it is perhaps unfair to suggest that all bands within a sub-genre are grossly similar. Let us give Revel in Flesh credit for creating their own brand of Swedish death metal, as it has done consistently throughout its tenure. Let’s hope we get more albums from Revel in Flesh.

Revel in Flesh has not embarked on the same path as the two aforementioned progenitors. They don’t pay tribute to the same dark but brutal buzzsaw-guitar aggression that Like An Ever Flowing Stream easily uses to impress almost any metal fan, but they do maintain a minimal quality to each release that nineties Swedish death metal bands no longer fairly maintain. So, while Swedish death metal has lived on in the form of newer bands like Under the Church and Profanal, Revel in Flesh attempt to stay relevant in the scene.

Emissary of All Plagues is not the best album Revel in Flesh has ever done, but as implied, the band does pull off another quality run at Swedish death metal. For fans of Swedeath, this is still good news. Emissary of All Plagues is sufficiently entertaining for fans of the sub-genre. While still ably performing and writing quality material, Revel in Flesh, does seem stuck in neutral at this point in its lifespan. Where the band goes from here, is uncertain. The year-end lists this time of year won’t feature mentions of Revel in Flesh, but for die-hard fans of the style and sub-genre, the wait finds suitable validation. Revel in Flesh tries to mix things up on Emissary of All Plagues and the band does so with precision and detail. Emissary of All Plagues may not be the revelatory album that is rained praise by music journalists with discerning tastes, but it will continue to fan the flames of Swedeath alive for at least another album. Until the band makes their breakthrough or suffers the fate most bands do so in vain, Emissary of All Plagues will continue to please die-hard fans of Swedeath, if not ignite a renaissance of the vaunted style.

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