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Revocation is an American technical death metal band. Characterized by their highly eclectic sound that combines elements of countless metal and non-metal genres, as well as frontman David Davidson's unique, versatile guitar style, Revocation has made a tremendous rise in a short period of time, having netted a lucrative contract with heavyweight metal label Relapse Records, as well as embarking on numerous high-profile tours, and it doesn't look as if they're going to stop any time soon.
Formed in Boston, Massachusetts in 2006 from the ashes of Cryptic Warning, the initial lineup consisted of David Davidson (guitars, vocals), Anthony Buda (bass, vocals), and Phil Dubois-Coyne (drums), the group released a three-song demo that same year and quickly made a name for themselves in the Boston area, being a local favorite at bars and basement booze-ups alike. They later went on to self-release Empire of the Obscene, their first full-length, in 2008; it launched to very positive reviews that, along with the subsequent self-financed tour, were enough to attract the attention of Relapse, who promptly signed the band. Their drive further enhanced, they released their follow-up, Existence Is Futile, in 2009. Everything continued to go smoothly, and the band added Dan Gargiulo (guitars, vocals) in 2010 in order to expand their options both in the studio and live. This slightly altered lineup would then go on to release Chaos of Forms in 2011. Things kept moving forward until sometime in 2012, when Anthony quit the band to pursue a musical career of his own; replacing him was Brett Bamberger of East of the Wall fame. This new lineup quickly released Teratogenesis, a free EP, in September 2012 through Scion A/V; as of the writing of this article, they just started a two-part US tour with A Life Once Lost and KEN mode for the first half, with the Faceless and The HAARP Machine taking over for the second leg. Not bad for a few boys from Boston (and Jersey, in Brett's case).
In August 2013, the band released their self-titled fourth album. After their contract with Relapse expired, they signed with Metal Blade Records in 2014 and released Deathless, their fifth full-length, that same year. As of 2015, Phil Dubois-Coyne has announced his exit from the band, citing numerous life circumstances that led to his having to make that decision while also stressing that there is absolutely no bad blood and that they are still his best friends. As of June 26, 2015, Ash Pearson is officially their new drummer, though he has unofficially held that slot since at least April. Great Is Our Sin, their first release with Pearson behind the kit, dropped on July 22nd, 2016. Their seventh album, entitled The Outer Ones, was released on September 28, 2018.
As of June 2020, Dan Gargiulo has left the band. A replacement has yet to be announced.
Oh, and Trini Kwan likes to blast them while doing yoga in dangerous locations.
- Sanity's Aberration (2005) (first and only album as Cryptic Warning)
- Empire of the Obscene (2008)
- Existence Is Futile (2009)
- Chaos of Forms (2011)
- Revocation (2013)
- Deathless (2014)
- Great Is Our Sin (2016)
- The Outer Ones (2018)
- Summon the Spawn (2006) - demo
- Pull the Plug (2011) - Death cover, limited-release 7" flexi-disc through Decibel Magazine
- Teratogenesis (2012) - EP released for free download through Scion A/V
MY NIGHTLY RITUAL! A CAPTIVATED MINSTREL! THIS IS THE MADNESS IN WHICH! I! TROPE!:
- Agent Peacock: Phil, Phil, PHIL.
- All Drummers Are Animals: Phil had a powerful, energetic playing style that was coupled with his infamous offstage antics and bawdy sense of humor.
- And I Must Scream: The ultimate fate of the treasure-seekers in "Fathomless Catacombs": trapped in the labyrinth below the abandoned church, they will wander in the dark for eternity.
- Ascended Extra: Dan started out as a live guitarist out of necessity due to how some of their more complex newer material just didn't work live with one guitarist. He was gradually given a bigger role in the band, going from contributing backing vocals and a few leads on Chaos of Forms to becoming the second vocalist outright after Anthony Buda left and writing multiple songs per album.
- Similarly, Ash Pearson started out as a live fill-in for Phil on a European tour with Aeon and Cannibal Corpse; once Phil decided to leave for good, Ash was officially selected as their new drummer.
- Audience Participation Song: "Dismantle the Dictator".
- Badass Beard: Brett. Dave is also getting there.
- Badass Biker: Ash Pearson
- Black Metal: A major part of their sound circa The Outer Ones (especially on "That Which Consumes All Things", "Blood Atonement", and "Luciferous"), which was heavily influenced by Dave and Dan's listening habits during the writing process (particularly technical black acts like Thantifaxath, Dodecahedron, and Imperial Triumphant, as well as their mutual perennial favorites Gorguts, Ulcerate, and Deathspell Omega, who influenced those acts heavily).
- Career-Ending Injury: Subverted with Phil. Yes, some shithead cop did indeed get overzealous and badly fractured his arm while placing him under arrest, and while it did play a fairly major role in Phil's decision to step down, it was not the only reason by any means and also was not quite bad enough to prevent Phil from ever playing drums again or even just playing at his pre-injury level of skill.
- Child Popstar: They were all in their mid-teens when they formed as Cryptic Warning. Doubles as a collective case of Teen Genius because of the level of technical skill that they possessed even then.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Phil had a strange and frequently perverse sense of humor.
- Cover Version: "Death in Vain" (Exhorder), "Pull the Plug", "Surprise! You're Dead!", "Dyers Eve", "Sworn to the Black", and "Altar of Sacrifice".
- Creepy Catholicism: "Communion", which reimagines it as a cannibal cult.
- Cthulhu Mythos: "Existence Is Futile", "Chaos of Forms", "The Watchers", "A Visitation", "Madness Opus", "The Blackest Reaches", "Of Unworldly Origin", "That Which Consumes All Things", "The Outer Ones", and "A Starless Darkness" all range from heavily inspired by it to outright Filk Songs.
- Darker and Edgier: Teratogenesis, which was noticeably more death metal-leaning than the previous albums. Deathless went even further in this direction, and after the somewhat lighter Great Is Our Sin, The Outer Ones managed to go in an even darker direction.
- Dug Too Deep: "Summon the Spawn"
- Eldritch Abomination: Some of the characteristics of the titular monster in "Leviathan Awaits" certainly evoke this, while the creatures from "The Watchers" seem to be the Fungi of Yuggoth. Finally, "A Visitation" appears to be about a reality incursion by beings akin to this.
- Epic Rocking: "A Starless Darkness" (7:15), "Tragedy of Modern Ages" (7:03), "Exhumed Identity" (6:52), "Madness Opus" (6:23), "Suffer These Wounds" (6:11), and "Witch Trials" (6:03).
- Heavy Meta: "Deathless", primarily in regards to the touring life.
- Hollywood New England: From Boston, and got most of their initial fame from house shows and DIY tours, but none of the current lineup still lives there (Dave lives in Brooklyn, Brett lives in Virginia, and Ash lives in Vancouver).
- Iconic Item: With his rapidly rising status as a modern shred icon, Dave's 7-string Jackson Warrior with maple finish is fast becoming one of these, while Brett's "WE TRIPPY MANE" shirt has also become something of a minor meme among the fandom.
- I Love the Dead: "Tail from the Crypt"
- Instrumentals: "Alliance and Tyranny", "Stillness", "Enter the Hall", "Across Forests and Fjords", "Fractal Entity", "Spastic", "Apex", "The Exaltation", and "Ex Nihilo".
- In the Style of...: "Fractal Entity" and "Spastic" are technical instrumentals in the style of Spastic Ink (who were a huge influence on the band as a whole, especially on Dave, who worships Ron Jarzombek), which the latter's title hints at.
- Lead Bassist: Anthony Buda was a Type B.
- Lighter and Softer: Great Is Our Sin was this in comparison to a string of progressively darker and heavier releases, as it was intended to be a more immediate, catchy release that could better attract mainstream audiences without compromising their core sound or selling out as a band.
- Loudness War: Their earlier material certainly suffered from this quite a bit, though this is thankfully not an issue from their self-titled onward.
- Meaningful Name: They chose their name because they wanted a fresh start from the mistakes that they made as Cryptic Warning; in essence, it was a revocation of all of their earlier bad decisions.
- Melodic Death Metal: Particularly from Teratogenesis onwards as they've steadily moved away from thrash.
- Metal Band Mascot: Unofficially, there was Hoss the giant dildo, which they used for pranks on other musicians before retiring him after Phil left.
- Metal Scream: Dave is a Type 1 who occasionally pulls off Type 2s, while Dan is a Type 3 (along with Anthony before him).
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: Hard 9 for the most part, soft 10 on the heavier songs. Their absolute heaviest tracks ("Empire of the Obscene", "Reprogrammed", "Teratogenesis", "Madness Opus", and "Only the Spineless Survive") are easily a solid 10.
- Multinational Team: Most of the band is from the US, but Ash Pearson is from Canada.
- New Sound Album:
- Existence increased the melody a bit and included a wider variety of genres.
- Chaos majorly amped up their Genre Roulette and Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly tendencies.
- Teratogenesis completely dropped the eclectic focus of previous albums and went for a more straightforward technical death sound, as well as being their first album to make use of seven-string guitars, the likes of which were used in a manner suggestive of a Nevermore influence.
- The self-titled brought back a little bit of the eclecticism present on Chaos while still going with the heavier, darker feel of Teratogenesis.
- Deathless further expanded upon the death metal leanings that Teratogenesis established while also taking an even more technical turn overall, in addition to dialing down the genre-hopping.
- Great Is Our Sin featured slightly more frequent clean vocals and did away with whatever little thrash the last two albums had left.
- The Outer Ones has prominent black metal (primarily experimental and technical black metal) and dissonant death metal elements and a significantly more progressive approach overall, with an absence of clean vocals and less of a focus on hooks than Great Is Our Sin.
- The Nothing After Death: "Vanitas"
- Parasite Zombie: "The Brain Scramblers"
- Police Brutality: The reason why Phil didn't play any shows with the band for over eight months before finally leaving. While being arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct, the arresting officer apparently bent his arm in a way that caused multiple fractures and, for lack of a better term, completely fucked it up. While it wasn't the sole reason for his departure, it definitely didn't help.
- Progressive Metal: They have had shades of this over the years (particularly on tracks like "Chaos of Forms", "Archfiend", "Witch Trials", and "Profanum Vulgus"), but The Outer Ones was a headlong plunge into the genre
- Protest Song: Quite common, with Great Is Our Sin in particular being filled to the brim with these.
- Rock Trio: Started out as this. They added Dan in 2010 because a lot of their newer material wound up not really working live without a second guitarist, and temporarily reverted back to this in 2020 when Dan quit (though Word of God is that he will be replaced for tours and albums moving forward).
- Signature Style: Heavily riff-based music with riffing that runs the gamut from crushing, mosh-friendly death metal to laid-back, jazz fusion-tinged progginess, noticeable melodic overtones, technical, melodic soloing that owes as much to fusion as it does to Shrapnel Records-style shred, and vocals that usually stick to a mid-ranged shout along with occasional gutturals or shrieks. Also expect lots of genre hopping and major tempo changes.
- Soprano and Gravel: Dave does the mid-ranged harsh vocals, while the high shrieks were handled by Anthony when he was in the band and are currently handled by Dan (though his are somewhat lower and raspier). Additionally, Dave has been sporadically using cleans since Chaos of Forms.
- Special Guest: Jon Rice, Ash Pearson, and Alex Rudinger have filled in for Phil on the past three respective tours, as he broke his arm and has been unable to make the shows; as of now, Ash has crossed over into Ascended Extra territory and is now a full-time member. Additionally, Sven de Caluwe joined them onstage as a guest vocalist for "Madness Opus" during a European tour with Cannibal Corpse and Aeon. As for album guests, Marty Friedman has a guest solo on "The Exaltation".
- Start My Own: Dave started the experimental rock project Gargoyl with members of Ayahuasca at some point in 2017 and finally released material in 2019. while Brett and Dan helped start Garbage People with Mike Paparo and TJ Childers of Inter Arma, plus the aforementioned Jon Rice. Subverted with Dan and Artificial Brain, as they were around before he joined Revocation. That being said, they never released anything prior to Dan joining the latter, so you could be forgiven for thinking that he started the former as a side project. Also subverted by Brett and River Black, as he was asked to join, rather than being a founding member.
- Step Up to the Microphone: They had a standalone vocalist in the absolute earliest stage of their career (well before they went by Revocation) who didn't work out; rather than attempting to find another one, Dave just opted to take over those duties.
- The Stoner: Dan and Brett.
- Technician vs. Performer: Dave and Dan, to a degree. While Dan is a very technical player and has some working knowledge of theory, his schooling was a mix of private lessons and teaching himself, and his writing style uses some basic theory but otherwise goes by feel. Dave, meanwhile, went to an arts magnet school and Berklee and received an extensive education in jazz guitar, and his extensive knowledge of theory drives his own writing style.
- Technical Death Metal: Along with Death, Necrophagist, The Faceless, Obscura, Decrepit Birth, Origin, and Beyond Creation, they are among the most prominent mainstream faces of the genre.
- Thrash Metal: Part of their overall sound, especially early on. This has been dialed down over the years as they've moved more and more towards death metal.
- True Companions: Rivers of Nihil (whose career they have done a lot to help, namely getting them on big tours and sending Jared Klein their way) and The Black Dahlia Murder, their perennial food and drinking buddies; if they're playing somewhere where at least one member of Revocation resides, they will show up for pre-show eats and post-show bar runs, and now that Dave and Trevor Strnad both live in the same neighborhood in Brooklyn, the two are regularly seen together at shows at St. Vitus and Kingsland, or just grabbing beers around town and talking music.
- Uncommon Time: Very often.
- Vocal Evolution: Dave started out with a higher, more shout-like style that occasionally invited comparisons to metalcore; as time went on, he gradually lowered it to more of a growl and also started using cleans on Chaos of Forms on an intermittent basis.