Revoltons – Celestial Violence (Sleaszy Rider Records)Monday, 8th May 2023
A veteran Italian band that arose during the early 1990’s, Revoltons have evolved through their six previous studio albums from a power/progressive metal style into one that is navigating elements of power/thrash while still being melodic and progressive in spots. Their seventh studio album Celestial Violence signifies a big shift in the lineup – the quintet containing two original members with guitarist Alex Corona and drummer Elvis Ortolan plus three recent acquisitions in bassist Simone Sut in 2020 plus second guitarist Carlo Venuti and vocalist Antonio Boscari last year. You always wonder how the musical chemistry, songwriting, and performances will translate that first time around. Fortunately for these gentlemen, the results are very promising that they’ve developed a diverse, strong set of material that contains the required hooks, melodies, and riffing to keep the legions happy.
The lyrical content runs across lockdown/pandemic themes of personal events like ruined relationships, death/suicides of loved ones plus general ideas of the struggles for humanity, how humans tangle with spirituality and the ultimate sacrifices to the planet as a result of specific actions. As such, the feel of the music matches this heady subject matter – sometimes darker, sometimes uplifting, often within the same song as you can get ‘singalong’ choruses against grittier vocal textures for “The Darkfall” as one sample. Progressive instincts unfold from the calmer/clean opening moments of “Nany John Skeenon” – a powerful cut that picks up momentum through it’s colorful drumming and tremendous, longer lead break that features a host of dives, bluesy runs, fluid thoughts that create dramatic interest ending in a folk-related manner. Revoltons excel at positioning the best riff/groove combinations, especially in more of a mid-tempo, swinging fashion where Antonio can flex his theatrical voicing and diverse abilities in multiple registers – check out “Reality Is a Crime” that sits between elements of classic Eldritch, current Sonata Arctica, and maybe a splash of American modern hard rock. The heavier, crunchier side propels “Cosmic Disabled” into future setlist highlight – Corona/Venuti volleying off each other seamlessly in rhythms/supplementary accents as the bass/drum syncopation engages higher dynamic skills than most musicians can execute. The dire cover art handled in house through bassist Simone Sut sets an accurate portrayal for what these musicians felt during lockdown mode while writing/recording these songs.
This is a working-class power/thrash effort that may not necessarily revolutionize the genre, but gets the job done in providing solid songwriting with more than worthwhile performances. Revoltons hopefully can keep this lineup going for another album cycle or two – as Celestial Violence may revitalize this long-running act’s career.