Revell Wins – Symmetry – EP Review
Make sure you note the spelling eh? Yes it’s technically instrumental music that you’ll find on the Symmetry EP – but taking out that one letter makes a world of difference in terms of what you can expect to hear. So be ready – Revell Wins hits hard. Based out of Bournemouth, England – rumor has it that Luke (Bass) and David (Drums) have been playing together since they were about fifteen years old; considering that I have no idea how old they are now, it’s not the most helpful piece of information I’ve got here I suppose, but it sure sounds cool. Put it to you this way…if Revell Wins is even more than a couple years-old in total (which yes, there’s evidence out there to prove that they are) then extra kudos to them for remaining a kickass two-piece band over the years where most would have caved in by now & brought in a third & fourth player to add safety in numbers. If you’ve got the right ingredients, why keep adding to the mix right? These two make more than enough noise to handle their business.
Dig the way they start this out, that’s for sure. Symmetry opens with the deadly sounds of the bass echoing out into the atmosphere eerily before the drums from David storm in to invade and assist Luke. Being unfamiliar with the band up til this point, on my first couple spins through “Symmetry,” I was actually trying to identify the breaks between songs…I was sitting here actually thinking that the multiple ideas housed within this cut were actually the four songs that made up the entire EP! And to be fair, that’s for a few credible reasons:
- There are noticeably, at least ten songs worth of ideas that form “Symmetry.”
- It’s actually more common to run into whole EPs that are eleven minutes long than it is to find single songs of that length.
- I never really know what I’m doing. I added this fact to beef up this list, but you already know this.
So anyhow, once I discovered that the 11:18 of “Symmetry” was just a mere appetizer for Revell Wins, then things started to make a lot more sense. These two play long & strong, loud’n’proud – that’s the game here, I get it now. I had a similar reaction when I was jumping back into the Vancouver music-scene back when we started the studio on the west-side of Canada; I had gone to see a three-piece band called The Pit at a place called The Media Club, and a two-piece bass/drum act came out on stage to open up, slaying it with wickedness much like you’ll find on this EP. I’d seen a ton of mainstream acts between my first step into music-journalism and eventual return to the independent scene – and seeing the energy, passion, and skill in this two-piece confidently kicking ass totally amped me up right from the get-go. It was a pure case of, ‘ohhhhh – so that’s how we’re doing things now in the underground.” Because if you do this music thing RIGHT dammit…if you never forget that it’s about the adventure and experience…two pieces are more than fine to fill a room with sound…and believe me, Revell Wins both can and will fill many over these years to follow. Not only is meaty track like “Symmetry” full of killer twists, turns, and transitions – but facts are facts, a two-piece can fit into places that other bands can’t; they can almost always be ready to fill-in on short notice compared to wrangling together four or five players to jump on a stage after the opening act bails, they can come out and jam with other bands on stage more easily than those with bigger head-counts in their lineup, they can play anything from the tiniest of coffee shops to the largest of stadiums and not have to change a thing about what they’re doing, where they’re standing, or what they’re gonna play – the advantages are out there for the two-piece band – there’s always room for Revell Wins. Victory for the boys!
Okay…chances are, it might not be quite as easy as that in practice, but in theory, there’s plenty of opportunity for Luke and David out there. Especially with the way they bring it to their music – that’s the key right? Ain’t nowhere to hide in a two-piece band, so that entertainment factor has to be supercharged and captivating…has to be interesting on another level that other bands with three or more couldn’t even compete with. “Symmetry” immediately reveals that they have that capability. Whether they’re hitting it as hard as they can like they do surging into the opening, or smoothing it out with more melodically-inclined moments like around the 2:15-ish mark – Revell Wins goes to work immediately on their EP to gain your favor. Notice the energy in the explosion around like, just past the 3:30 mark, barely just a minute past the most melody they reveal on “Symmetry” and they’ve opened up an entirely new can of whoop-ass on ya to absorb like a sweet, sweet, searing punch to the face. Revell Wins plays with bold confidence on display and there’s absolutely no reason as to why they shouldn’t – they’ve got the skills, but clearly they’ve got the smarts as well to know what’s going to entertain us as listeners AND themselves as musicians. As a result, “Symmetry” will take you through a true adventure in sound that rages from its most extreme & punishing moments into brilliantly executed melodies that somehow end up fitting in a perfect calm to the storm they’re continually creating. For the most part, I’ve got little to no complaints at all – I freakin’ love what I’m hearing in Revell Wins and personally really dig on this kind of weirdness, wildness, and straight-up passion & skill combined. Moments where Luke’s taking it up & down note-by-note on the scale, like say in the seventh minute – that’ll be the stuff that eventually falls away over time and takes an eleven-minute Revell Wins song down to a tight ten-minute one. Other than that, all his ideas are excellent, the playing is just as killer; he’s clearly much stronger than any kind of one-note wonder is all…and I think the bulk of “Symmetry” certainly proves that. Together with David, these two longtime friends stomp and smash this tune towards its ending, eventually drifting back into the mist of the eerie sound & shadows from whence they came to exit the song.
And every time I finished listening, I’d chuckle to myself at thinking that was the full EP beforehand. I mean – C’MON that’s as honest of a mistake as you can make – “Symmetry” SOUNDS like an entire record’s worth of experience in just that one tune, don’t you think? Hell of a first impression and clearly two players that are determined to outwork the rest – you know I’ve got love & respect for that.
Anyhow! So we’re moving on…to what I now know is officially more to come. And if the tiny beeps of a timer are any indication, they’re about to go off…I’m thinking we all best buckle-up & get ready to take the ride assuredly about to come at us on “Face Your Fears” following their opening title-track. They won’t escape Primus comparisons on a tune like this, which hell, I’d certainly take that as a compliment – what bass player wouldn’t? Luke does a killer job of creating sound your ears will want to hear with proficiency and badassery on display at all times, stomping it down or riffing it up along with David punishing those poor skins on his drumset like they’ve somehow wronged him in a past life. The most important thing about these two, at least in my opinion, is that they never leave us a window or break in the music where we’ll feel like we somehow need more…and that’s the magic here, you really don’t. I don’t feel the absence of vocals or the solo of a guitar here…like I said at the beginning, these two gentlemen make more than enough noise on their own to supremely satisfy. As they shift & rumble through the transitions & different timings on cuts like “Face Your Fears,” how could you NOT feel like you’re getting enough out of these guys? I mean, I’ll just come right out and say it as plainly as I can, Primus-comparisons or not – you’re getting more of a great thing here; every time I put on “Face Your Fears” my stereo got cranked up to the rafters. David’s putting on a damn clinic in the back there from the drum throne…that’s another thing about the magic in a two-piece – do you really think he could just get away with simply keeping the beat and hittin’ up that sweet & easy 4/4 over & over? HELL NO. So you get massive doses of innovation from the throne that really help power songs like “Face Your Fears” forward, propelled by the sheer force he puts into his playing at times, and at others through the clever approach to his fills, displaying all kinds of technique and imagination when it comes to what’s being hit. But there’s melody, there’s noticeable hooks in the sound & energy that would more than entertain most people out there…as for the rest of ya, sorry, got nothin’ for ya, head back to your camps and await tribal council. What I’m saying is that a cut like “Face Your Fears” should have everything you need…and then in what seems to be signature Revell Wins style, obviously 10% more than you expect. The groove & grind of the opening/closing riffs on “Face Your Fears” are freakin’ brilliant if you ask me.
While “Face Your Fears” might be the cut for me personally when it comes the Symmetry EP and my own taste in music (I mean, all these songs are, but that’s one hell of a jam) – I think the majority of the people out there might come away with “Terminator” being their favorite from the record for a couple reasons. One certainly being that it does end up kind of feeling like it has more of a tight concept and idea that they’re working with, whereas the two tracks previous seem to expand right to & beyond the edges of every border, asking a bit more out of listening ears to stick with them on their journey. And for the music-heads, Metal/Prog/Instrumental fans & open-minded listeners out there, what Revell Wins is creating will be welcomed with arms wide open…so don’t get me wrong…I’m talking about those folks on the fringe, wondering if they can hang with the raw edge & menacing sounds of a band like this. Those people are gonna have an easier time following the slower progression & layout to the map of a tune like “Terminator” and how it moves, while at the same time, Revell Wins still gives the rest of us that depth of musicianship & instrumentation we’d now never want them to shy away from after everything we’ve heard on the Symmetry EP to this point. So they don’t – they still bring it full-force; there’s just a bit more of a logical flow to “Terminator” that listeners can grasp on to. There’s that, there’s the addition of guest-star Arnold Schwarzenegger into the mix (Fun side note – Microsoft Word has no problem at all with Arnold Schwarzenegger…doesn’t even come up as an incorrect word, that’s how much of a part of our shared culture that legendary giant truly is) that will also boost a bit of the accessibility as well, because people always love things they recognize like this sample from the actual Terminator movie AND it’s threaded into this tune absolutely brilliantly when & where they use it. Their brand of InstruMETAL drifts much closer to a Post-Rock sound here…bands like Explosions In The Sky, This Will Destroy Us!, Mogwai & such…which again, is both a smart move that will open additional doors for Revell Wins, but also shows us that their sound can expand into even more realms with confidence that the ideas will land & pull even more people in through the killer execution they bring to their music. It’s complex stuff…don’t get me wrong…maybe it all burns a bit more slower and with a slightly more accessible design to the sound of “Terminator,” but make no mistake, still wild & tough stuff to play and these two guys just never let up. Think of it as almost simplified math…the fewer band members in a lineup, the harder they really have to work to entertain and fill those holes that so many would expect to be filled; again, that’s the magic here in Revell Wins – you don’t need or want anything else at all.
PLUS – don’t ever let it be said that Instrumental – OR InstruMETAL music for that matter – won’t make you think just as much as any other track with vocals can. Of course, sometimes that comes from clues you’ll find in the titles, which yes, I get it, they’re words too…but you get what I mean…it’s still not like they’ve said anything out loud singing-wise. “Stolypin’s Necktie (Land Of The Necks)” will fill you in a bit on what the gritty details inspiring this song are all about…believe me, you don’t want to be caught wearing one of these fashionable items from Russia’s early 19th century history. According to the ol’ internet, a “Stolypin Necktie” refers to a noose…specifically referring to a time-period between 1906-1909 where it’s estimated that some 3000 to a possible 5500 people were executed via the gallows. You gotta love it here at sleepingbagstudios right? Come for the music – STAY for the history lessons! Call me crazy, I find things like this interesting…I was born a kid with his head stuck in the liner-notes of every album I ever bought growing up…this is just that version of me now all grown-up is all. I think it’s important to get downright nerdy with the music you listen to and find out everything you can about it on your own…because the music should make you WANT to do that. Again, what Revell Wins did that for me without question – I’ve been interested in Symmetry since the very first moments and remained engaged until the very last seconds. When I started this review, I didn’t even know their names or that they were fifteen when they first started jamming together…I look this kind of stuff up because I give a shit…because their effort and their music make me want to find out more about the source of where these beastly ideas and behemoth sounds are coming from – you should too. “Stolypin’s Necktie (Land Of The Necks)” walks a line closer to the first two cuts we experienced on this EP, weaving in between the hard-stuff & softer melodies with killer instincts & energy that suits each moment spot-on. As far as the edgier part of this track goes, it’s another solid checkmark in the win-column for the duo – but as far as the softer-side of their sound & more melodically-inclined tones you’ll find throughout this final track, I think they’re seriously ending on a huge highlight that shows the band can hang in multiple dimensions and come out with a completely winning combination in the end results. They rage and storm through the low-end rumble of the most intense moments of “Stolypin’s Necktie (Land Of The Necks)” and dial it back in all the right ways when the time comes to bring that energy down and smooth out the sound. All-in-all…felt to me like they brought this EP up that one more level it deserved at the very end here – but you could make a solid argument that they’ve been doing that consecutively track-after-track on the Symmetry EP and you wouldn’t find me arguing back at ya otherwise…they’ve done a killer job in filling the speakers with their new record and they show that the potential for where they can go in the future is limitless.
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