It’s been four long years since we last heard from Canadian filth purveyors Revenge, but I can assure you that the aptly titled Scum.Collapse.Eradication was more than worth the wait. No other band on the planet is capable of harnessing hatred and scorn into a chaotic yet controlled whirlwind of pure electric death the way the duo of drummer/vocalist J. Read and guitarist/bassist Chris Ross (aka Vermin) do on Revenge’s fourth full length. Even though the band’s basic approach on Scum.Collapse.Eradication differs in only the most subtle of ways from that of previous outings, the fact remains that Revenge are so goddamn good at what they do that their return to the frontlines of the war metal battleground is always a welcome one.
What separates Revenge from most of the bands plying this style is the fact that there’s a method to their madness. Scum.Collapse.Eradication is not simply chaos for chaos’ sake, but rather a cruel, calculated blast of chaos with a purpose. Granted, that purpose is a difficult one to discern with only snippets of lyrics provided, but anyone who listens to Revenge’s music and spends time studying their visual and (fragmented) lyrical aesthetics will recognize that domination is high on the band’s list of objectives. One can’t help but be reminded of various totalitarian regimes throughout history while gazing upon their stark, black and white album covers, or reading lines such as “saving the defective, a waste of future heritage / you are below us / opposition crushed with iron persuasion / strong with strong” from “Parasite Gallows (In Line),” as the music itself rolls over you like wave after wave of tank treads and combat boots. It all adds up to some of the most abrasive and confrontational metal out there, total musical genocide on a global scale.
Musically, Scum.Collapse.Eradication might be Revenge’s most disciplined salvo to date. Read continues to be one of the most captivating drummers in all of metal, a cyclone of violence that always manages to pull back from the brink of annihilation, while his vocals alternate between high, blackened shrieks and pitch-shifted(?) death-chunder that wouldn’t be out of place on a goregrind record. Chris Ross puts on a barbaric, brutalizing riff-clinic, alternating between sludgy, rumbling filth and speedy, churning six-string siege, while his solos slash through the mix like razor-wire. The production retains the thick layer of grime that has characterized all of Revenge’s work, yet there is a newfound clarity on Scum.Collapse.Eradication that allows the music’s dynamics to shine amidst the monochromatic murk. It could just be the production, but with this album it seems like Read and Ross have begun to focus more on allowing the songs to breath; a more nuanced assault as opposed to hitting you with the heaviest of heavy artillery at all times.
Revenge has been doing this style longer and better than anyone (hell, Read pretty much invented it with Conqueror) and Scum.Collapse.Eradication only serves to further assert their mastery. It probably won’t convince any of those who think this type of ultra-gnarly, bestial metal hardly even counts as music, but the few dedicated maniacs who live for this shit will be blown away by what is arguably Revenge’s definitive statement of metallic subjugation.