Formed in 2000 (under the name Cryptic Warning), Revocation have evolved into one of Boston’s premiere metal bands. My first encounter with Revocation was their music video for “Dismantle the Dictator;” I was immediately blown away by their technicality and melodic sensibility. With each of their four full length releases, Revocation have consistently pushed the envelope by infusing traditional thrash metal with forward-thinking songwriting elements. Their new self-titled album reached #4 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart and is a must-listen for any fan of adventurous-yet-classic metal. We checked in with vocalist/guitarist/songwriter Dave Davidson on Boston, touring, songwriting, and more.
Randy: Boston enjoys a strong underground metal community. How has this influenced the band and its music?
Dave: When we were just starting out we were influenced by some of the bands that we played with, most notably Random Acts of Violence. We also played a lot of basements and warehouse shows with a variety of punk and grind bands and I think that the raw energy of those DIY shows definitely made an impact on us. From a business perspective I know that seeing local bands that were hungry and booking their own tours also gave us a kick in the ass to start being more proactive ourselves.
Randy: The music video for “Fracked” is very powerful. Did any filming go into this video or was existing footage used?
Dave: “Fracked” was put together with mostly found footage by Madeline Faxon Queen. She did a great job with very limited resources and also has a very DIY attitude herself.
Randy: Is your music written with specific lyrics or lyrical concepts in mind, or are the music and lyrics written separately?
Dave: The music almost always comes first for us. There’s been times in the past where the music has actually inspired the lyrical content itself. Once a song is fully written I’ll listen to it for awhile and think about possible lyrical concepts that fit with the vibe of the song. Different songs speak to me in different ways so it’s important for me to pick a topic that I think fits the mood and then go from there.
Randy: What inspired the Banjo part on Invidious? Did you have that idea going into writing that song?
Dave: The verse section of that song was inspired by the banjo roll technique and sound so I figured it would be a cool addition to the record sound wise to add that part in. The banjo part kind of comes out of nowhere at first listen but once the verse kicks in I think it makes sense in context of the song.
Randy: Despite its crushing heaviness, Revocation music always has a catchiness factor. Is this a conscious part of the writing process?
Dave: I’m definitely a disciple of bands like Metallica, Pantera and Megadeth as well as a big fan of more abrasive forms of death metal so I think it’s just a natural product of what influenced me growing up.
Randy: Revocation’s music does not conform to any specific genre, so you seem to fit on many different billings. How do the bands you’re touring with impact your performance?
Dave: It impacts us in the sense that we might choose to play different songs from our repertoire depending on what the overall vibe of the tour package is. For instance we might add more death metal sounding songs if we are on tour with Dying Fetus or chose to go more of the thrash route if it’s a more old school crowd. The last tour we did was with Death Angel so we kept the set pretty thrashy.
Randy: Do you have any tour activities (music or non-music related) to keep you occupied on the road?
Dave: I try to practice when I can on tour but it can be difficult to sit down and find a quiet place where you’re out of the way of other people. There’s not a ton of down time for us on tour since we drive ourselves in a van in the states and long drives can eat up the majority of the day. In Europe we tour in a bus which is nice so I have a little more time to do things like sight seeing when I’m over there.
Randy: Describe the experience of a hometown show. How is it different from a tour date?
Dave: It’s always great to play Boston since a bunch of our friends and relatives usually come out and party with us. It’s also nice to know that I can sleep in my own bed and recharge a little before going to the next gig.
Randy: If you could collaborate with one musician, living or dead, who would it be?
Dave: Dimebag (Darrell, former guitarist for Pantera), he was such an immense influence on me growing up and it would be awesome to just get the chance to hang with him for a little bit.