Written by: The Administrator
Before the music journalism Inquisition rakes my haggard frame over hot coals, let me make something clear: I don't make it a practice to read reviews of music I plan to write about. I like my thoughts to be my own, uninfluenced--willingly or no--by what others have said. But some rules are made to be broken, especially when the band's first EP cites, on bandcamp, a god-awful review in lieu of a typical about-us section. Seems like required reading in my book.
Despite what said review will have you think, the duo that constitutes Revered and Reviled Above All Others is not mediocre. Neither is their output boring, nor (my personal favorite) "listless music." While this release's six brand new tracks and accompanying Napalm Death cover admittedly bear a vague mark of maturity in contrast to their previous effort (which are repackaged on the cassette version of Toppling the Rotten Pillar), I am here to wholeheartedly assert that none of those prior adjectives apply. Y'know, in this scribe's humble assessment.
There's a stark difference between "bare bones" and "boring," and here, Revered and Reviled Above All Others have demonstrated a keen ability to write music that hits hard without relying on gimmicks to make and maintain a point. It's a deceptively simple formula: noisy-ass drums and disturbingly hefty bass crush and pummel with a furious intent that can only be described as...pugilistic? Indeed, as I stated upon first listen: "Lungs collapsed within several seconds of exposure. If I die by bass tone, let this be the soundtrack." After multiple listens, the feeling hasn't passed. Meanwhile, the vocals are like unto an possessed locomotive, howling into the abyss with cacophonous rage.
But, unlike the majority of bands that employ a similar-ish sonic palette, this duo utterly shotguns tracks. Revered and Reviled Above All Others' straightforward portmanteau of powerviolence and doom really does hit the mark. Doomviolence, in a word, is exactly what you'd expect it to sound like: simultaneously lumbering and agile. It's a paradox, but it works. This formula is pretty damn unique in a lot of senses, but the intrinsically concise format is an aspect that shines particularly brightly. Because nothing is overwrought, everything here feels deliberately built around a single brief idea. Tracks don't have movements--rather, as soon as one thought is complete, it's on to the next song with nary a backward glance. While Revered and Reviled Above All Others' newer tracks are slightly longer, that's not saying much--the most drawn-out affair on this joint is "Deeper Pain Than Death," which clocks in at a whopping 2:14. Generally, though, a minute and change is all it takes to get the damn point across, and as such, Toppling The Rotten Pillar moves along at a fast clip that contrasts nicely with the fairly plodding pace of the instrumentation.
Highlight tracks? As aforementioned, this thing is damn short, so I'd recommend just sitting down and listening in full. That said, the one-two punch of "A Spoiled Orchard" and "Eroding Immunity" is quite nice indeed. The former boasts minimal percussion alongside an absurd vocal performance that I can only compare to rolling downhill with a backpack filled with wet concrete in the midst of a landslide, while the latter features undistilled noisy rage over a spoken word diatribe (feat. guest vocals courtesy of Sarah Allen Reed.) It's clever and effective at establishing a tone, and serves as a strong centerpiece for the package as a whole--assuming you're listening to the digital version sans The Atrophy of Empathy tracks. The 11 second Napalm Death cover is an equally clever tribute--a fresh doomy spin on a song that feels trite in the hands of many, many other bands.
Revered and Reviled Above All Others aren't mediocre or dull or uninspired. Quite the opposite, in fact. This release feels innovative, and, as a result, I am anxious to hear what they cook up next. All told, experiencing Toppling the Rotten Pillar is an exercise in not believing what you read and, erm, not trusting critics. So take this all with a grain of salt, I suppose?
Having destroyed any lingering credibility: for what it's worth, this project comes highly recommended.
Revered and Reviled Above All Others - Toppling the Rotten Pillar was released July 24th, 2020 on cassette from Diabolical Conquest Records
Revered and Reviled Above All Others can be found:
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!