All you need to know about this CD -
I regret my woeful underrating of Revile's last CD, "High Tide", in 2003, and it remains the sole review I wish I had written differently. Composed without a proper appreciation of the work, the review sold the band short on many levels, and only after several months when popped back into the stereo by chance did the its true understated beauty shine; it just needed to find its moment. Ever since it found that moment one night I've been hooked. I dont know how many of the readers genuinely still spin the demos they pick up more than once or twice, but "High Tide" is one of the few Irish demos that still gets a more or less weekly play in my own neck of the woods. And that really is saying something. Their melodic and atmospheric moody rock may be a far cry from the cumbersome thrash they used to indulge in, but it is eminently more satisfying. "The Moment In Review", coming quickly on the heels of its predecessor, has now solidified the bands aesthetic and raison d'etre firmly. This review then isnt a puff piece or an attempt to redress undervaluing them last time round, but suffice to say this cd has now had ample spins by which to assess its qualities.
Apart from the massive increase in sound quality (it was good already, it is now right on the money), two things about this demo make themselves immediately apparent. The first is the cd's composition. "High Tide" was a very varied assortment that showcased the band's interest in a number of areas. Every track had something genuinely different to offer, and although I said at the time it was a bit "non committal", it made up in diversity what it sometimes lacked in focus. "The Moment in Review" is a lot less varied, and initially this was a little disappointing. They have however found a new conciseness and direction, and this cd is certainly a lot more powerful and direct than the last; i guess the best word would be 'driving'. It doesn't float around aimlessly enjoying atmospheres. Each song has a reason and a method, and at all times it seems now as though the band are actively demanding the listeners attention. Which leads nicely to the next point of note in the form of Andy O'Toole's pipes. He is now completely sure of notes, with no near misses or flats that were in evidence on the last cd. However, like the music, he tends to use the same motifs and vocal patterns across all the tracks, and its something I would gently suggest for future releases to maybe explore new structures and even employ more harmonies; the beautiful duality of himself and the feminine voice on here in brief snatches for example is excellent, and perhaps something that could be worked with more.
That said, his performance on closer "Blood and Brine" could only be described as soaring. He has the notes bang on; he has the power bang on; now all we need to hear is some real pain or passion, just that x factor that marks out the true front man rather than simply the vocalist. Its a great performance, and will be better yet. Musically the lads have upped the ante, most notably in the drum department. The melodic and moody rock benefits enormously from a former metal drummer who knows what makes a song HEAVY. Great china cymbal and tom work add plosive power exactly where it is needed, and "Living Receiver" showcases this very nicely, being reminiscent of Daniel Liljekvist's rock solid work on the later Katatonia albums . Elsewhere the guitar swathes that added so much to "High Tide" are back to shimmering and beautiful effect on this same track, adding the mood more common to later 80's Goth to the proceedings - very atmospheric, very subtle, very cool.
So in terms of the bigger picture, nothing much has actually changed with the band and no real significant musical development has taken place. What has happened however is that they have taken songs of "High Tide" calibre and made them more direct, straightforward and crisp than before, which when coupled with a knowledgable and deft use of effect and embellishment leads to some appreciably mature results. "The Moment in Review" is a case of a place for everything and everything in its place. The band just have a knack for capturing that twilight, distanced vibe - there's something wonderfully ephemeral about their music, being lonesome yet uplifiting, somewhat sad and seemingly always on the move. Buy it, give it time and let it work. Revile aren't doing anything especially unique, but they are doing it uniquely. I have heard few other bands in the country, metal or otherwise, able to capture precisely this soft, dreamy and forlorn grown up rock vibe. The tones are here in force, the songwriting is strident, and the whole thing is bathed in a cerulean atmosphere. If it was a colour it would be indigo... go figure.
-Ciaran Tracey ::: 04/10/04