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Revelation (Belarus) : Expulsion From Paradise (Remaster)

The long-lost debut and demo of Belarusian Gothic/Doom band Revelation, unearthed and reissued.

I like surprises. Nice ones, anyway, such as this: somebody seeing fit to send me an obscure Doom album unearthed from the vaults of time and given a new lease of life.

The 'somebody' in question would be GSP, who seem to have embarked on something of a worthy recent quest to dig out lost classics of the Doom world, and bring them to general attention. Though, in this case, it's actually a Belarusian act, the principle clearly works: rather like the recent Russian Deceptive, I hadn't heard of Revelation before - but now that I have, I'm intrigued. This being a reissue of the first album (2001), with the original demo (2000) tacked on, I guess it's all the work of Alexey Scurat (vocals) and Sergey Ziburov (everything else), with a reasonably glossy remastering to match the nifty digipak repackaging and what looks like it's meant to be a representation of the Norns cleaned up from the murky original cover. It's a bit hard to be certain - the band sing in English, so all the lyrics are printed in that language, but all the other information is in Cyrillic, which - to be fair - I'm not so hot on translating.

Anyway, we won't get too hung up on background stuff, although I will throw in the information that, bizarrely, there's a Roxette cover included - yeah, on purpose - on the debut album. I vaguely recall the original, which seemed to have very little merit beyond giving a couple of pretty Swedes the opportunity to pose and preen, but Vitaliy of GSP assures me they were actually huge in Russia. Funny old world.

Leaving odd pop-worship habits aside, Revelation actually had a pretty good thing going: of contemporary acts, it reminds me of somewhere between the doomed-down melancholy of sadly-defunct Austrian band Dawn Of Dreams and the more aggressive post-'Chaotic Beauty' Gothic Metal of Finns Eternal Dreams Of Sorrow. Both bands had a similar tendency to use guitar to bulk out the sound, often with quite invariant riffing, and layer in repeated, quite complex, synth lines to drive the melody (In more modern terms, that'd perhaps equate to a Doom take on Dark The Suns). And, considering there were only the two of them, Revelation did a rather splendid job of filling the soundstage around that using programmed drums, choral voices, basic piano keys and some strings and organ alongside which the bass vocal growls, and - occasionally - spoken passages sit very well indeed. There's apparently a bass in there somewhere, but you'd struggle to really pick it out, unlike the guitar - which, when the occasion demands it, such as on 'Celebration Of Madness', moves effortlessly into the centre-stage foreground for some nifty fretwork.

To be honest, the approach even manages to flatter 'Listen To Your Heart', in much the same way as Soliloquium managed to pull off The Cranberries' 'Zombie', or MonumentuM did with Visage's 'Fade To Grey' - keeping some of the pop catchiness, but giving it a dark and ominous edge.

Which, I suppose, is not a bad summation of the whole album: despite the melancholic atmosphere and the abundance of sad-sounding minor key melodies, or the oppressive weight of tracks like 'My Room', there is still a fair amount of Gothic Metal spread throughout in the mid-tempo paces and often quite soaring keyboards, making it quite a light and easy listen in places, however contrastingly sombre and moody in others.

As a bonus freebie, the somewhat lesser demo material is more of a 'nice to have' than anything else: tacked on to the end of the album as it is, it doesn't really show anything that hadn't already improved in the preceding versions. It does make me wonder why 'Forgotten Empire' got the title billing, though, given that it's easily the weakest composition on this whole release: 'Out Of My Heart' would have been a much more worthy inclusion on the debut.

But I'm not complaining about getting the extra material and even without it (and, in my case, once the novelty had fairly quickly worn off, the cover version) you undoubtedly get your money's-worth with the 40+ minutes of original symphonic Gothic/Doom at the heart of the release. Revelation are still listed as active, though their last output was in 2011 - the album 'Осознание', also the only one still readily available prior to this re-release. Different vocalist, similar mix of influences, equally approachable and enjoyable. I'm rather hoping 'Expulsion From Paradise' will do well enough to encourage the unearthing of the remaining couple of albums: I'd like to get my hands on them. In the meantime, you could do a lot worse than check this out for something a little different to most of the turn-of-the-millennium Gothic output. Warmly recommended.

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Reviewer's rating: 8.5/10


Tracklist :
Expulsion From The Paradise (2001)
1. Intro
2. The Day Of Sky Tears
3. My Room
4. Celebration Of Madness
5. Forgotten Empire
6. Voice Of The Silence
7. Expulsion From Paradise
8. And Death Is Just a Beginning
9. Listen To Your Heart (Roxette Cover)
Forgotten Empire (Demo 2000)
10. Intro
11. Out Of My Heart
12. Forgotten Empire
13. My Room

Duration : Approx. 65 minutes

Visit the Revelation (Belarus) bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-10-24 by Mike Liassides
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