The new disc from Boston headbangers Revocation touches on the usual black metal themes of evil, death, and afterlife, but also manages to delve deep into the human psyche, exploring social injustice, political inequality, and even pregnancy loss.
Not exactly knuckle-dragging mosh metal, but what would you expect from a group of Boston Latin Academy grads—and a Harvard student—who were named one of SPIN’s Top 10 “Bands To Watch”?
“We put pressure on ourselves,” guitarist/vocalist David Davidson says over beers at The Last Drop in Brighton. “The songs aren’t done until they’re right. We don’t want to sound forced.”
“We’re perfectionists,” adds bassist/vocalist Anthony Buda. “And we want to live up to the standards of our fans.”
The band (which also includes drummer Phil Dubois and guitarist Dan Gargiulo) has already toured internationally with metal titans Job for a Cowboy, Behemoth and Dying Fetus. With an average age of just 25, they kick off an East Coast tour at Great Scott Thursday before embarking on a full U.S. tour with Dying Fetus and Six Feet Under in June.
Formed as a trio, then made up of Davidson, Buda and Dubois, they started playing Metallica covers and were originally called Cryptic Warning while in 8th grade at Boston Latin.
They changed the name to Revocation in 2006 and in 2010, they added Gargiulo, remain true to the metal thunder that poured out of their 2009 disc, Existence is Futile.
“There were a lot of layered guitars on the CD,” Buda explains. “We just wanted to replicate the music live. It sounds better. We wanted more of that heavyweight sound.”
Shortly after the 2010 SPIN honor, they found themselves on a luxury tour bus in Japan and Europe—a far cry from the beat up van they use to travel across the states. But as soon as they set foot on stage, whether it was Tokyo or Paris, they were in their element.
“We’re conjurers of the dark arts,” Davidson says. “We’re on stage with a black mass of metal heads in front of us and it’s a vibe. It’s a morbid genre.”
“Conjuring the Cataclysm” from new album, Chaos of Forms (Relapse), LIVE
The SPIN designation led to some raised eyebrows within the metal community, but Davidson and Buda dismiss the negativity.
“Within any genre, there is going to be some blowback,” Davidson says. “Especially in metal. They’re real protective of its underground.
“You’re going to get people saying, ‘Oh, they sold out,’ or this and that. But we just try to stay true to ourselves.”
Buda puts it more succinctly: “Haters are gonna hate.”
The new disc, Chaos of Forms (Relapse), is a dark cavalcade of thrashy riffs, fist-to-the-jaw grindcore, Nordic-style black metal, and the bleakest of Florida death. “Conjuring the Cataclysm” is “about a necromancer doing evil’s bidding,” Davidson says, while the title track is a tale of an interstellar drug trip.
“It’s a narrative, almost like sci-fi,” Buda explains. “They’re completely fucked up, tripping their asses off and dealing with the disruptive feelings when their faculties are going … It’s not not-autobiographical.”