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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.
Anomaly. Seminal. Iconoclasts. A “band’s band”. These are the nebulous words that sum up a group of artists now in their third decade of collaboration and creation. These terms are yokes that Voivod must bear. Yet there is a purity in this fate that will live forever.
What were the odds in the first place? Four young men in Quebec, addled by art, high on hash, fueled by Venom and Motorhead. Post-heavy metal, pre-MTV. The 80s were upon them and the threat of nuclear war seemed almost inevitable. Why not live out the endtimes sipping absinthe, writing music, and donning leather and spikes?
Michel Langevin conceived a universe, a character, an anti-hero; The Voivod. Dressed in fanciful garb woven by Bram Stoker and Stanley Kubrick, the Voivod was a vampire lord in a post-nuclear age. Immortal and unstoppable. The ultimate goal of any artist. Michel chose to take on the powers of his creation by breathing life into the Voivod’s universe. By creating a musical vehicle for the Voivod’s saga. By starting a garage band.
Denis D’amour provided the music. The young man nicknamed “Piggy” composed a debut album of brutal power, metallic ferocity, mad jazz-shifts, and brash noise. He also began to develop an almost lunatic style with his chords, solos, and tones that combined the technicality of Robert Fripp with the lumbering heaviness of Tony Iommi.
Piggy worked hard to develop “Away”, “Blacky”, and “Snake” into a formidable unit. And he succeeded. Local shows and early tape trading led to interest from labels as far away as Los Angeles. Brian Slagel used his independent label Metal Blade to discover and develop important underground artists like Metallica, Slayer, Celtic Frost, …and Voivod. Compilation tracks led to contracts and a modest budget allowing for time in a Montreal 8-track studio. The first Voivod album War and Pain was recorded and released unto the world in the prophetic year of 1984.
More albums followed and tours too. Voivod began to find a worldwide fanbase of rabid metalheads who couldn’t get enough of the violent sound on War and Pain and it’s follow-up Roooaaarrr. Away painted graphic images of future warriors and weaponry to adorn the covers of these records that matched his lyrical concepts. Snake hideously sputtered these words, shrieking over the “blower bass” foundation laid by Blacky.
A successful U.S. tour in 1986 with Celtic Frost led to greater interest, and greater vistas. Combat/Noise records signed Voivod and sent them to Berlin to record with Kreator producer Harris Johns. As the band aged and grew, so did its abilities and ideas continue to develop exponentially. The third outing Killing Technology was a paradigm shift beyond its predecessors that nearly no one expected. Now the Voivod character was a cyborg in outer space that had survived multiple nuclear wars and was prepared to take on the tyrrany of a totalitarian world. More sophisticated lyrics demanded more intricate music, which the band was now competent to provide thanks to their many travels. But listeners were not spared an ounce of brutality. Sharper focus. More deadly riffs. An evil sound commenced that to this day is as alien and effective as it was in 1987.
MTV and the music industry at large could not ignore the thrash metal demographic any longer. Too many records were being sold and too much money was going directly into the underground scene that could be turned into larger corporate dollars. Even independent, progressive bands were encouraged to streamline their look and sound. Whether you want to call it “selling out” or just refer to it as “general improvements”, it was a fact of life for any band on the cusp of quitting their day jobs to make music for a living.
Album four – Dimension Hatross arrived with the best sound production of any ‘Vod album to date, and a surprisingly tuneful performance by Snake. Add these interstellar harmonies to the barrage of vintage guitar sounds, unrelenting double-kick drum, and a concept that took the Voivod to a microgalaxy of his own creation, and you find yourself listening to a masterpiece. Over and over again.
Even with the anti-entropic rising popularity of each release, Voivod still were far from a household name. The macro-solution to this mega-problem? Sign with MCA for three records and a commercial apex that may never come again. Nothingface became the bands best and best-selling album, featuring flawless digital production, a newfound restraint in tempos and arrangements, and a more thoughtful, poetic lyrical approach. If you have not heard Voivod, this is the place to start.
The tours that followed became the stuff of legend. A support slot for Canadian metal arena heroes Rush. A stateside club tour with newcomers Faith No More and Soundgarden. A constant rotation of the album’s first single “Astronomy Domine” (a tour de force reworking of the Syd Barrett/Pink Floyd classic) on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball didn’t hurt either.
But after such dizzy heights are so nearly reached, a fall becomes inevitable. By 1991, there was pressure for Voivod to be better yet. MCA’s definition of better was to cut out the most demanding elements, tone down the metal, and work with a name producer. During the Angel Rat sessions, tensions flared. The opportunity existed for Voivod to create a masterwork which might move their music into a new field entirely. From progressive metal to progressive rock. The Voivod character had been abandoned, and so had many of the most recognizable elements from previous albums. With the right combination of events and people, this might have been an album to rival Nothingface which was so unique and perfect and uncompromising. But, not unlike Brian Wilson’s failed attempt to create a masterpiece of Smile, that combination of events did not transpire.
Blacky quit the group, ending a stunningly artistic first period in the group’s history. The following album “The Outer Limits” and its tours would require session bass players to fill the gap he left.
The Outer Limits succeeds in all of the areas in which Angel Rat failed, except for one: nothing ever broke the band to a mainstream audience. Chalk it up to internal and external pressures, the dual ghettos of the prog-rock and metal crossroads where the Voivod dwelt, and the untimely explosion of Grunge and Alternative. It was all these elements and more that created a band more resigned to its fate. That realization, along with a healthy severance budget from MCA, made it possible for the band to create a lasting work of art, possibly its last for a corporate sponsor. From the jagged crush of “Lost Machine” to the 17-minute opus “Jack Luminous”, The Outer Limits is a rich jazz/metal journey into psychedelic spatial realms, that manages to retain melody and pop sensibilities without compromise.
Silence yawned over the Voivod camp for some time. Their “Iron Gang” fan club had long since disbanded. Founding member and vocalist Snake had departed after the TOL tours, despite evidence of a growing audience of Angel Rat fans who were beginning to discover the rest of the band’s catalog. Away and Piggy were left holding the reins of their creation. But truly, Away was responsible for the concept, the artwork, the drive. And Piggy wrote much of the music. By the mid-90s, an underground metal scene was brewing once more. A scene for which Voivod was as influential and responsible as their metal heroes had been to them.
Enter Eric Forrest and Slipdisc records. The best solution for filling two vacancies? Hire one man. Forrest’s abilities on the 4-string as well as the strength of his voice provided the perfect match for a leaner, hungrier Voivod. With digital recording costs dropping throughout the industry, independent money for a record became a viable solution, particularly for a trio with more direct ambitions. Negatron was not an album so much as an experiment. Michel “Away” Langevin, Dennis “Piggy” Damour, and Eric Forrest went in the studio without a concept, and jammed. The results were cruder and more aggressive than any previous recording, yet retained a sonic excellence and truly modern sensibility that placed them less in the prog-metal camp, aligning the group closer to groups like Neurosis and Brutal Truth.
Extensive Negatron tours followed, and the world began to realize that the Voivod still lived. Forrest was capturing the nuances of Snake’s vocal style, while alternatingly flooring or alienating fans with his own death metal approach. What subtlety from the MCA era had been lost was more than balanced by the returned aggression from the Noise years. Now it was time for the Voivod to return.
Phobos woke the creature from its nothing-faced slumber; pitting him in a global war. Even heavier than Negatron, this record blankets the listener in a cloud of analog sound, thick and almost stifling. More psychedelic than Angel Rat, heavier than Killing Technology, Phobos was a Dimension Hatross for the 90s and the most vital work the band had produced since Nothingface.
Fate struck one more blow when a tire blow-out turned the tour van over on the German slopes of the Phobos tour. Eric Forrest was nearly killed, surviving to endure multiple major surgeries, and permanent injury to his legs and back. Amazingly, Eric weathered rigorous rehabilitation and physical therapy, and recommenced Voivod tour with co-headliners Neurosis and support compliments of Today is the Day. Eric sang, played bass, and walked with a cane to be in the band he loved.
But to the dismay of some (and the relief of others), Eric eventually was asked to stepped down.
A new light and life entered the Voivod camp. Snake returned to sing after a seven year hiatus and the aborted Union Made project. Longtime friend and fan Jason Newsted (ex-Metallica) did bass & production duties on the Voivod’s next three studio albums.
Due to his visibility with Metallica (and temporary membership on Ozzy Osbourne’s band), Jason Newsted helped Voivod achieve new found visibility and helped the band secure a slot in 2003′s Ozzfest where the band probably played for the largest crowds ever.
As the band worked on their 14th album, disaster struck VOIVOD again. In the summer of 2005, guitarist Denis “Piggy” D’Amour was diagnosed with colon cancer, and as he entered the hospital for a routine operation, several complications led his doctors to find out that his cancer was inoperable, as it was too advanced and had already spread to his liver. Denis slipped into a coma on Thursday August 25th and died less than 24 hours later in the palliative care unit of a Montreal hospital, surrounded by family and friends. He was 45 years old.
The band chose to use the guitar demos Piggy had recorded for the new album, and finished and released the recordings as an album titled Katorz, as a tribute to the guitar genius.
On 2009, the band used other unreleased guitar demos Piggy had recorded and built a new album around them, with the help of Nothingface’s producer Glen Robinson. The album was titled Infini.
After Piggy’s passing, and despite the almost certainty that Voivod’s story as a band had come to an end, some reunion jams in 2008 with original bassist Jean-Ives Theriault and Martyr guitarist Dan Mongrain, led to the band to start touring again as Voivod. As some touring opportunities were offered to the band, they did some major touring in 2008, 2009 and 2010, playing in the USA, Europe and Japan, and releasing the Live DVD Voivod Tatsumaki Voivod Japan 2008.
With Blacky and Dan “Chewy” Mongrain on board, the band continued to tour around the world in 2011 and 2012, and in 2013, the band finally released the long-awaited new album, Target Earth, the first Voivod album without its guitarist and founder Piggy. Target Earth surpassed all expectations, and drew positive reviews all around the world, and was included in some Best-of-2013 Metal lists.
Due to some problems’s with Snake’s health, the band was not able to tour extensively in 2013-2014, but they still managed to play some metal festivals and shows all around the world, including Japan, Chile, and Brasil.
On July 11th 2013, Voivod announced the departure of bassist and founding member, Jean Ives “Blacky” Theriault for “personal reasons”. The band recruited Dominique “Rocky” Laroche as their new bass player and he made his debut with Voivod on 2014.06.12 at Jonquiere en Musique Festival, Jonquiere QC, Canada
Isolation can often result in unique outcomes. Hailing from the tiny, frosty, untamed and detached Australian state that is Tasmania, Psycroptic have become an unparalleled act in an enigmatic world wide movement commonly known as death metal. Fifteen years have passed since their formation in 1999, the band having released five critically acclaimed studio albums, all which show an organic progression along a clandestine path from which they will never stray.
On the eve of their sixth full-length, though more technical and brutally intuitive than ever, the four-piece has not been afraid to get in touch with their softer side. Long known as the ‘Tasmanian devils’, they recently became the first band in the world to adopt their own Tasmanian Devil, whom they dubbed Psycro, in an attempt to help preserve the critically endangered carnivorous marsupial. Newer elements too can be expected when the new album is finally unleashed – more vocal variation, a heightened handle on instrumental melody, and an overwhelming sense that this act has truly mastered their craft.
Psycroptic have toured all corners of the globe with names that need no introduction to those in the know – Cannibal Corpse, Suicide Silence, Decapitated, The Faceless, Obituary, Carcass, Nile, The Black Dahlia Murder, Origin, Kataklysm, Aborted, Despised Icon, Suffocation, Veil of Maya, Cryptopsy, Misery Index, Vader, Born of Osiris, Hate Eternal… you get the picture right? They also recently guest hosted the ABC music video program Rage, an honour reserved for only the most class Australian acts. Metal legend Max Cavalera has also been sporting the band’s merch in recent promotional photos, bringing things full circle from the days when they were influenced by Sepultura in their youth. It’s safe to say that Psycroptic’s place in the history of heavy metal is solidified, and that everything that happens from here on in is simply a bonus…
Californian death metal act SKELETAL REMAINS will release their forthcoming third studio album, entitled “Devouring Mortality” on April 13th, 2018 via Dark Descent Records in North America and Century Media Records for the rest of the world. Tracked at Trench Studios (Abysmal Dawn, Exhumed, Hirax, etc.) in California and mixed by Dan Swanö at Unisound Studio (Asphyx, Dissection, Bloodbath, etc.), the record’s artwork was created by Dan Seagrave (Entombed, Morbid Angel, Pestilence etc.), to much excitement of vocalist, guitarist and main composer Chris Monroy: “Having the opportunity to work with Dan Seagrave on the artwork was a dream come true for us, and Dan Swanö, man he really made our album sound huge and heavy as fuck! It is a true honor to be able to work with these two legends. We can’t wait to share it with all the fans of death metal!”
Midlands quartet Conjurer have created a truly limitless, progressive sound that defies traditional metal genres.
Sludge-groove meets post-black metal, with an intelligent and dissonant technical intensity that carries a weight of fear and awe, successfully translatable on record and live.