Reverence – Dead Rhetoric 8/10
Some changes afoot for highly underrated American melodic/power metal unit Reverence, starting with the untimely passing of guitarist Pete Rossi followed by the induction of new singer Scott Oliva, who replaces Riot V throat Todd Michael Hall. Hence, the Foreverence title for this eight-song EP, featuring six new cuts and two live songs. And like we said – these guys, for whatever reason, remain terribly overlooked in the American power metal scene. Perhaps one day that will change…
Oliva admirably steps in for Hall, providing a healthy dose of smooth, but impassioned singing. It’s quite the seamless transition, frankly, with Oliva handling “Fire Lord” and “Phoenix Rising” with ease, culling those breathy choruses among mid-tempo riff-action, sort of how Savatage would sound today had they kept on The Hall of the Mountain King path. (Makes sense – former Sava drummer Steve “Doc” Wacholz mans the skins here.) A tribute to Rossi comes in the form of the instrumental “Last Flight,” while two of the band’s better songs, “When Darkness Calls” and “The Price You Pay” get the live recording treatment.
There’s a special spot for hard-working, no-frills melodic power metal bands like Reverence. They’re all of the style’s strengths and none of its clichés, which again, makes their unsung status worth examining further.