You don’t name your band Cattle Decapitation if you’re looking to subtly insinuate your way into the consciousness of the masses. Equally, unleashing some of the most intense, horrifying, and extreme metal known to mankind will not ingratiate you with those of a sensitive nature, for the San Diegan’s boundary-pushing music is designed to turn heads and snap necks, and not necessarily in that order. Returning with their seventh full-length, the devastating Monolith Of Inhumanity, the band have never sounded more focused, more aggressive, or more determined to get in the faces of those who erroneously believe they have already experienced the band at their extreme best. “One of the main things this band has done since the very beginning was to try to break tradition and break the mold of what’s acceptable, in any given genre we’re working in,” states vocalist Travis Ryan. “I’m really happy that with this record we’ve been able to successfully push those boundaries further than we ever have, and without going into the ‘suck’ realm or sounding contrived. We’ve gone so far out on a limb on this one, and I’m just ecstatic that we’ve pulled off what we were trying to achieve.”
This achievement stands as one of the most volatile, ambitious, and impossible to aptly categorize records you will hear in 2012. Dragging their ever-evolving deathgrind sound kicking and screaming into the epic territory inhabited by the likes of Dimmu Borgir and Anaal Nathrakh, the quartet redefine all perceptions of what Cattle Decapitation is. “The mindset of this band has always been abrasive and balls to the wall, and like a car accident where there’s no fucking stopping it. Throwing melodic vocals or guitar work – or dare we say catchy elements – into that is tantalizing,” says Ryan. That such elements have been woven sparingly into their turbulent racket does not mean the band have in any way diminished the sheer visceral impact they are known for. “There can be hooks and catchiness without compromising what the band – or any individual in the band – is all about,” asserts guitarist Josh Elmore. “Having these elements at our disposal is just another tool with which we can build the best songs that we can. It was great also having input from Derek (Engemann, bass, who makes his writing and recording debut with this album), who added some new dynamics to some of the songs. We also spent a lot of time thinking about structure on this record, wanting every moment to count, no matter what the tone of it was.” After one exposure to Monolith Of Inhumanity it’s evident that these more melodic elements truly enhance the power of the tracks, and make for a more diverse and involving collection. On “A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat” the band unleash a chorus
that manages to be hideous and infectious at the same time, while the towering “Your Disposal” and “Lifestalker” wield sweeping, dramatic sections tinged with apocalyptic fury, which are all the more gripping for the inclusion of Ryan’s melodic shrieking. “I was waiting for the guys to write parts I could use that kind of melody on, and as soon as they played me “Your Disposal” I dropped the song I was working on and just went for it,” enthuses Ryan. “This is the first record where I really listened to what the fans were saying they wanted, and many of them wanted a lot more of those weird, epic, melodic parts that crept into The Harvest Floor (2009), and I’m like okay, done, because luckily I agree with you this time!”
As with all of the band’s releases, Monolith Of Inhumanity revolves around a central concept, building upon Ryan’s potent distaste for contemporary civilization and the damage wrought in the name of progress. “Whereas The Harvest Floor focused on sort of rounding up the populace and getting rid of them, this record is about what would happen had we let them go. It’s about where humanity will end up if it continues the course it’s on,” the vocalist explains. This concept, inspired in part by 2001: A Space Odyssey, is once again captured in the cover art by longtime collaborator Wes Benscoter, depicting a bleak apocalyptic future and the regression of mankind into apes. “The monolith really represents technology, and the cover’s this trash heap with the monolith atop it and humans scavenging all around it, because that’s all they’re able to do any more. It’s where we’re headed on the course we’re on, and yeah, a lot of kids will say that’s a really negative, shitty attitude to have, but is it not correct?”
In realizing the record, the quartet – rounded out by drummer Dave McGraw – travelled to Denver, Colorado to collaborate with producer Dave Otero (Allegaeon, Cephalic Carnage). “Dave brought really good performances out of everybody, and he gave the record a lot of clarity while the heaviness is still there,” states Elmore, though it was the producer’s suggestions on how to better flesh out the songs that made the most profound difference in the guitarist’s eyes. “The guy really knows what he’s doing. I do a lot of layering after the basic rhythm track, and if I came to a point where I wasn’t sure about something someone would always pipe up and say you realize everything Dave has suggested so far has worked? Try it!” he laughs. That the record is as accomplished as it is also belies the fact that the schedules of the members made it difficult for them to focus on writing it over the year they had allotted. “As it turns out we work really well under pressure,” Ryan says with a wry smile. “But we were all so busy it’s literally a wonder that we got it done at all in that year, let alone what we came out with. It makes me feel like we’re capable of anything, and that’s really a new development.”
The visual aspect of their output having always been important to them, the band are enthused to have the album released as a gatefold vinyl, and to have Tom Bunk, creator of The Garbage Pail Kids collectors cards from the 1980s, design cards for the individual members of the band, which will be available with pre-orders. “Collecting those cards was one of my favorite things when I was a kid, and our friend and ex-manager is a complete nerd about it and has known Tom Bunk for years, and put us in touch with him. This is an older guy that doesn’t have to be fucking around with some deathgrind band who isn’t going to push him to new heights, but he thought it sounded like a fun project and he was very cool about everything. It still hasn’t really hit me that we quite literally have our own Garbage Pail Kid cards!” Ryan grins. “The funny thing is that it also inadvertently ties right into the theme of the record, which has so much focus on garbage and waste. It didn’t even occur to me until months later, but that’s the beauty of this band, things happen for a reason. For instance, for the first time, going into this record I didn’t have the whole concept worked out in my head. Usually I have it in mind as much as a few years before we get around to making the record, and I need that, it has to make sense to me or it’s just not going to work. I was so scared it just wasn’t going to come, but one day it literally just hit me. The title, the concept, the cover, all of it, and suddenly everything fell into place, and now it’s done I think this is the first time we’ve all been one hundred percent proud of what we’ve created – and for good reason.”
Bio by Dan Slessor
David Davidson – guitar, lead vocals
Ash Pearson – drums, percussion
Dan Gargiulo – guitar, backing vocals
Brett Bamberger – bass guitar, backing vocals
Revocation have spent the last eight years converting fans to their cause with four full length albums, an EP with Scion AV, and a charismatic live show led by guitarist/vocalist Dave Davidson. The Boston-based band also features the staggeringly talented lineup of: Dan Gargiulo on guitar, Brett Bamberger on bass, and Phil Dubois on drums. Revocation has firmly been established as one of the genre’s finest and will continue their campaign as part of the Metal Blade Records roster. Their fifth album, “Deathless,” is a fitting debut for the label, and a definitive statement of intent from the band.
“Deathless” was recorded with acclaimed producer Zeuss at Planet Z studios in Massachusetts. The album is ten tracks of ambitious, catchy, and undeniably heavy material. Musically, cuts like “Madness Opus” showcase a more deliberate Revocation – restrained, if even moderately so, to deliver a slow, near-dirge like track. Alternatively, the title track highlights the diversity of Davidson’s vocals with a catchy chorus. It’s an ear worm the likes of which the band had only previously hinted. The rest of the album offers a refreshing variety of music and truly feels like an “album”, rather than a collection of similar tracks. This is a refinement, achieved only through years of focusing on their craft.
Davidson adds, “Collectively, we feel that “Deathless” is our finest offering yet. The songs are incredibly varied and each one showcases a different element of the band. Technically, everyone is in top form on this record, as well, and we really pushed ourselves to deliver the best performances possible on all fronts. This is a new chapter and a new beginning for the band; we can’t wait for this record to be unleashed in October!”
Lyrically, “Deathless” addresses life on the road and the band’s commitment to touring, followed by even more touring. “Madness Opus” made its live debut when Revocation toured with DevilDriver and Whitechapel during the summer of 2014. Davidson discusses the track: “The crowd response for that tune has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s one of the heaviest songs we’ve ever written, hands down, and has been a blast to play live. Lyrically, it’s about one of my favorite HP Lovecraft stories, “The Music Of Erich Zann”. Fans of unnamable cosmic horror and punishing death metal will not be disappointed!”
Revocation begins touring in support of “Deathless” in September with Crowbar in North America, followed by a full European tour with new label mates Cannibal Corpse and Aeon. Much is more is set to come – this is the beginning of a new era for Revocation. “Deathless” will be available worldwide on Metal Blade Records
In 2006, lifelong friends Dave Davidson, Anthony Buda, and Phil Dubois-Coyne formed the core of what would become Revocation. The trio gigged throughout New England, and recorded a three song demo, “Summon the Spawn.” The guys would spend the next few years writing and performing new songs as often as possible, before finally tracking their debut album in 2008.
“Empire of the Obscene” was recorded with Pete Rutcho at Damage Studios in 2008, and made a huge splash upon release. Their brand of technically-minded thrash offered a new take on thrash, and a much more energetic and vital approach to the technical death metal. The debut lead to the band signing with Relapse Records. By early 2009, the band had already re-entered Damage Studios to record “Existence is Futile.”
The release of their label debut was met with critical acclaim and truly began to spread their name throughout metal on a global scale. Magazines including SPIN and Decibel heaped praise on the band, and Dave Davidson became an official Jackson Guitars endorser. In 2010, guitarist Dan Gargiuolo joined the ranks as a touring second guitarist, just in time for the band to perform in Europe, Japan, the US and Canada. In total they would play in 13 countries and over 150 shows.
During the fall and winter of 2010, the band recorded “Chaos of Forms” with Rutcho at Damage Studios. The album vaulted the band to new heights, and afforded them even greater touring opportunities. Revocation also appeared on the Relapse Records label showcase, presented by Scion A/V in February 2012. The year also saw the addition of bassist Brett Bamberger, along with the recording of the “Teratogenesis” EP for Scion A/V.
In February of 2013, Revocation recorded their fourth album with producer Pete Rutcho. Their self-titled album was released in August 2013, and was followed by a slot on the Summer Slaughter Tour 2013.
FULL OF HELL
On tour forever. Numb your mind.