by Ana Krunic
VANCOUVER – Being trained in jazz may not be a necessary part of every extreme metal musician’s arsenal, but when you hear Boston’s Revocation and how they’ve subtly woven the two ideas together, you hear what that training can bring to the table. One of the minds to thank for that is vocalist and guitarist Dave Davidson, Berklee-taught but brought up in death metal and considered one of the most unique players in modern metal.
“I’ve got a diverse taste in music so I like bringing together all of those elements, sometimes in subtle ways,” says Davidson. “I like to be a sponge and soak up as much as I can. The hope is that you learn enough things and get more comfortable with them, so they become more a part of your subconscious and the music can just come out. So when I’m writing, I’m not sitting down with a pen and paper. The riffs are coming from me sitting down with a guitar, and while I don’t know where they come from, obviously all of the things that I’ve worked on over the years have developed my style so that the ideas can come out in a natural way.”
That natural manner in which Revocation blends little bits of different genres and sub-genres is what defines their sound. Their newest single, “Of Otherworldly Origin,” almost has a black metal tinge to it. But as with all of their music, you know it’s Revocation from the start. It’s a taste of their anticipated new record, The Outer Ones which is slated for release this September.
”As a songwriter you always want to bring something new to the table while still maintaining the core of your sound, so that can be a challenge, especially because this will be our seventh full-length record.” says Davidson.
Known for his penchant for fantastical themes as well as a bit of social commentary, Davidson says that The Outer Ones will be a bit of a take on author H. P. Lovecraft’s form of storytelling.
“What’s cool about Lovecraft and why I went with the name, The Outer Ones, is because it has this sort of nebulous feeling to it. Like, everyone knows Cthulhu, but that’s because that’s a very specific creature in that world. So, The Outer Ones kind of encompasses everything. He can be intentionally specific in some of his writings, but he can also be intentionally vague and leave the reader’s mind to kind of fill in the blanks.”
Davidson adds, “Lovecraft once famously said: ‘The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.’ That quote always stuck with me because you go to see a horror movie, right? You’re scared during the film but it’s not the scares you get when you’re in the theatre, it’s when you go home that night and close your eyes and picture the killer in the room with you standing in a dark corner when it’s just a pile of clothes that you have there. It’s your mind filling in those blanks of the unknown that generates powerful emotions and as a writer, you can do a lot with that.”
When asked about Revocation’s continued success and his own continuing development as a musician and teacher, Davidson offers this advice: “I feel like in today’s day and age, people will go to great lengths to not be critical of themselves. To not feel shame or embarrassment but sometimes you have to go out there and suck a bit in order to get better. If you’re working on a new concept, it’s not going to sound good right away. You have to manipulate it, it’s like sculpting where you’ve got this slab of rock and you have to look at how to whittle away at it to make something beautiful out of it.”
Revocation will be playing the Astoria (Vancouver) on October 3 in support of their new record, alongside Revenger, Assimilation, Yautja and Rivers of Nihil.