When it comes to technical death metal, Revocation are one of the most unique bands in the genre. They’ve created a distinct sound by pushing the boundaries of aggressive music and blending it with jazz licks and classical methods of composition.
Over the years their sound has progressed beyond measure; their latest record Great is our Sin is by far their most distinctive effort yet. I recently sat down with Guitarist and Vocalist Dave Davidson, where we spoke about some of his influences and motives
How has the response to the new album been so far?
The response has been really overwhelming. I was online earlier looking at some reviews from the critics and we’re getting near perfect scores across the board. We got a 4.5 out of 5 from MetalSucks, another 4.5 out of 5 from a different metal blog and a 9 out of 10 here, 9 out of 10 there. I’m really stoked on how the record’s been received from the critics and it seems the reaction from our fans is just as positive judging by the comments on the songs we’ve been posting.
Compared to previous releases, I feel as if Great is Our Sin is by far Revocation’s most powerful record yet. So I’m curious, what were your main influences while writing for this album?
I’ve been listening to a lot of death metal lately. I think my jazz influences are creeping through a little bit more in terms of my phrasing and my solos. We’re getting more aggressive as time goes on; maintaining our sound while also bringing in new elements to expand the umbrella of what the Revocation sound is and what it’s capable of doing.
The song ‘Theatre of Horror’ is very interesting and even sounds slightly neo-classical at times. Is a blend of genres or a progressive feel something you aim for when writing or does it come naturally?
It’s more of a natural thing to be honest. I think studying music and composing becomes the forefront of your mind but then you let that feed more into your subconscious when you’re writing. For example because you mentioned Theatre of Horror, the pre chorus riff is an interesting idea with some pull offs but it goes through a couple of different key changes. It’s like having what you’d call a motif in classical or jazz where it’s a melodic arrhythmic idea that goes through some different permutations. It’s not necessarily something I aim for, I hear the riffs in my head and think this is a cool idea, how can I move this around to a different key or expand upon it so it’s not just riff after riff where there’s no development.
This is Revocation’s first album with the new drummer, Ash Pearson. Was it tough finding a replacement for Phil?
It was tough, but Ash is an amazing drummer. He actually filled in for us on the Cannibal Corpse tour, so when Phil left the band we called Ash and it just so happened that 3 Inches of Blood, Ash’s previous band were disbanding right around that time. We got lucky, we didn’t have to do the year long search for a drummer. He had filled in for us, he played all the songs well and he was great to hang out with on the road. He was the first person we called and it all worked it, it was like one of those perfectly timed situations.
Great is Our Sin is your second release through MetalBlade Records, not including the re-release of your first album Empire of the Obscene. How has the label been for you guys so far and has it helped to keep the band motivated?
The labels been really supportive; they’ve got a great team working there. What’s cool is that everyone’s passionate about the band at MetalBlade, it’s nice when they’re fans of your music. They’ve got a great worldwide presence, I mean I’m doing Australian interviews right now so the reach is pretty wide in terms of who they can tap into for promotion and press.
You offer music lessons both online and occasionally while on tour. Does passing down your knowledge and reflecting on what you have learnt over the years help to keep the ideas flowing for new material?
Yeah, for sure. I think teaching helps to keep you really sharp because you have to explain different concepts, techniques or ideas and a lot of times you have to explain them in different ways; one way I might explain something to one student might be totally different than the approach I take with a different student. So you have to come at it from a lot angles and I think that reinforces your knowledge with the instrument and music in general.
At the beginning of 2015 Nick Schendzielos from Job for a Cowboy released a video you were featured in that was titled “Newborns or Benjamin Butthole Surfers” which was both awesome and hilarious. Do you see yourself working on a full length collaboration like this in the future?
Probably not, that was just for fun. It’s funny we kind of just came up with that one afternoon and filmed it, there wasn’t much thought that went into the music or anything but of course something as absurd and silly as that ended up getting national attention. It was on a Comedy Central late night show and all this stuff, it garnered a lot of attention but I don’t see myself trying to create a record around that.
In December 2014 Revocation came to Australia for the first time for the release of Deathless. You toured with Thy Art is Murder, Disentomb and Psycroptic who are all big and well respected bands from the Australian metal scene. When the time comes for Revocation to come back to Australia, are there any particular Aussie bands you would like to tour with?
It’d be great to your with all those bands again, we had an absolute blast and they’re all homies. In terms of other bands to tour with; it’d be cool to tour with Stargazer. Also Portal that would be incredible to tour with those guys. Such a weird, interesting band so we could do a really underground sort of death metal tour with that line up.
Interview by Jackson Calcutt