Revocation is not a band that likes to keep its fans waiting. A little more than a year after the release of their last album -- a self-titled monster that propelled the Boston-based technical death-metal wizards onto the Billboard charts for the first time -- they're back again with another. Next week, the band drops Deathless, its fifth full-length and the first for the venerable label Metal Blade. And folks, it's a ripper.
Like its predecessor, Deathless threatens at times to bury the listener in a furious blizzard of notes. Led by the punishingly precise riffage of guitarists Dave Davidson and Dan Gargiulo, the new record is a comprehensive slab of brutal death metal and intricate thrash, stitched together with the same grace and fluidity displayed by Davidson's fellow Berklee College of Music grads in Dream Theater. It's complex enough to wow metal nerds, yet plenty heavy enough to tickle the meatheads.
Frankly, the sheer volume and variety of riffs on display are enough to boggle the mind. How did Revocation turn out another dense album of berserker virtuosity so quickly, after spending practically the whole year touring behind their biggest release to date?
"We got two guys in the band that are riff factories: Dave and Dan," says Revocation bassist Brett Bamberger. "At any moment, these guys have another record ready to go. They just write that quickly. They both sit at home, compose, get the parts together and bring them to the table. Then we just add the spice."
Adding his own flavor to the mix on Deathless is metal superproducer Zeuss (Hatebreed, Suicide Silence), who recorded the band at his Planet Z studio in Boston. His involvement is as sure a sign as any of Revocation's ascendancy.
"We had the budget for him this time around, which was pretty rad," says Bamberger. "It was a no-brainer for us to go with him. He's got a great set of ears, and his tones are fantastic. He's just like, 'Eh, not so much, try it this way,' or 'I'm thinking about this.' He gives a lot of input, which is really cool."
Three extremely dense albums in four years, chock-full of dozens of inventive riffs apiece, is an almost unimaginable pace for most bands. Revocation is different. The bassist says he savored having a few weeks to prep for the studio this time out -- a new experience.
"This record in particular, I probably had the most time to prepare, which was kind of a delight," he says. "With the Scion A/V EP (Tetrogensis), I had just a couple of weeks to get those five songs ready to go. And then for the self-titled record, we were pretty much on tour non-stop and then just came home and had to record it. We did a lot of the pre-production for that record while we were on tour, which was pretty cool."
The genre-spanning variety of sounds crammed into the band's oeuvre have served it well on the current tour, which blasts into Fitzgerald's on Friday. Revocation is sharing the bill with New Orleans sludge scions Crowbar, thrashing Denver maniacs Havok and bludgeoning upstarts Fit for an Autopsy and Armed for Apocalypse. It's an interesting grab bag of heavy-metal acts more accustomed to standing out than fitting in.
Story continues on the next page.
"I think people that have been coming out to the show have been getting a lot of variety," Bamberger says. "It's a pretty cool package, 'cause it's mad diverse. Everybody is bringing their own crowd through the door."
For a group like Revocation, the touring cycle never really ends, and with a new album ready to pop, the road seems to stretch on indefinitely. When the current tour ends on Friday, the band will spend the weekend doing laundry for a European trek with their new labelmates, death-metal archetypes Cannibal Corpse.
"We're going to be on tour for a very long time without coming home," the bassist says. "We finish this tour in a couple days, then we drive straight back to Boston and fly out to Europe immediately. We're in Europe for six weeks, then we go to Asia for a couple weeks and then Australia. We come home for a little bit, and then we head out again. Ideally, we're looking to be on tour for 12 months straight on this record."
After that, naturally, Revocation plans to head straight back into the studio. It'll be a heavy metal grind that few are fit for, but one that Bamberger and his mates can scarcely imagine life without.
"I just like being up there jammin', hangin' out with the dudes and just feeling the vibe," he says. "Not a lot of people get an opportunity to take their show on the road, so to speak. It's something always new and exciting, even if you're doing the same routine every day.
"I think every moment being out here is a breath of fresh air."
Revocation plays with Crowbar, Havok, Fit For an Autopsy and Armed for Apocalypse this Friday at Fitzgerald's, 2706 White Oak Drive. Doors open at 7 p.m.
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
The Ask Willie D Archives Houston's Top 10 Hipster Bars, Clubs & Icehouses 2014 Today's 10 Most Promising Young Metal Bands Hip-Hop's Seven Best Breakup Songs Houston's Top 10 Rooftop Bars and Lounges