Revelation – Inner Harbor
Posted by Terrible Certainty Zine
There’s prolific, and then there’s the Revelation/Against Nature partnership of John Brenner, Bert Hall and Steve Branagan, who have released no less than twenty two albums since 2005, most of which were self-released through their own Bland Hand Records. That said, the nineteen albums in the Against Nature catalog have consumed the lion’s share of the guys’ time. Against Nature has always felt like the blank canvas on which the trio could continue in the direction of its doom pedigree (which they sometimes did) or branch off into new, untapped directions (which they also sometimes did). While Revelation’s progression has been far from stagnant, its foundation has been more stable, its direction more linear compared to its adventurous twin. But as recent Against Nature has moved further away from doom, Revelation has incorporated more prog and vintage touches that ultimately create a blend of the two projects.
Inner Harbor is a deft blend of the classic doom and progressive rock you expect from this trio, regardless of the name on the album cover. And as remarkable as the sheer volume of their output is, even more impressive is the number of ideas and riffs the band manages to pack into each song. The tracks on Inner Harbor tend to take at least one sharp turn about midway through, and it’s usually in these second halves when the band completely jump the doom rails and revel in a prog rock often not unlike Rush.
There’s certainly doom to be found, such as the gorgeous openings to “Jones Falls” and “An Allegory of Want,” but Inner Harbor is far less rooted in the genre than Revelation’s work to date. Brenner’s riffs are uncharacteristically uptempo, keyboards often play a prominent role, and Bert Hall’s bass assumes an unusual amount of the spotlight. He doesn’t waste a moment of it, he’s downright excellent throughout Inner Harbour, and the bass and keyboard led finale to “Terribilita” just flat out smokes. Steve Branagan’s a chameleon behind the drum kit. He doesn’t bother with flash, but he always supplies the right answer as his approaches shift skillfully with the varying styles.
There’s a terrific balance to Inner Harbor. “Rebecca At the Well” trades its opening playful, funky strut for a tense 2112-like riff and spacey keys, before opening up again into a spacious closing jam, while “Eve Separated,” on the other hand, is a single-minded rocker. Even outside the doomier moments Brenner’s plaintive vocals lend a somber note to the uptempo, brighter music, while his excellent solos infuse a classic rock flavor. “Jones Falls” is by and large vintage Revelation, but the keyboard pulse adds a very different dimension and depth. Then there’s “An Allegory of Want,” a jaw-dropper that sounds roughly like what you’d get if Revelation covered Warning covering a Pink Floyd tune. Gorgeous, emotive doom metal with progressive turns.
Inner Harbor will eventually see a CD release through Shadow Kingdom and vinyl via Pariah Child, but you don’t have to wait to experience this satisfyingly charismatic album. It’s available now on the Bland Hand website, where you can download works from Revelation, Against Nature and others, and make an optional donation. The band doesn’t demand your financial support, but they sure do deserve it.
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Posted on October 30, 2012, in Review and tagged Against Nature, Doom, Metal Album Reviews, Pariah Child, Progressive, Revelation, Rush, Shadow Kingdom, Terrible Certainty. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.