Having delivered five killer albums boasting some of the most potent, technical and abrasive metal unleashed over the last decade, it would be easy for Revocation to sit back and rest upon their laurels. However, with their constant drive to push their sound ever forward and refusal to compromise their integrity, this could never be the case – and Great Is Our Sin is their most dynamic, boundary-pushing and weighty release to date. For vocalist/guitarist Dave Davidson, the goal has never been about trying to please others. “Thinking critically about my own style and being self-motivated has had a very strong impact on me as a musician and songwriter. We try not to think too much about extraneous forces when we’re writing so we can focus on creating music for ourselves first and foremost.“
Hitting the road with 2014′s Deathless, the band shared stages with the likes of Crowbar and the mighty Cannibal Corpse, drawing in legions of new fans. When it came time to follow it up, the quartet – rounded out by guitarist Dan Gargiulio, bassist Brett Bamberger, and recently recruited drummer Ash Pearson – had their work cut out for them, and their response to the challenge is a record that grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go. Never forcing anything, the songs that would comprise Great Is Our Sin came together organically, and while the members being spread all around North America would have been an impediment to some, Revocation drew strength from it. “Writing comes pretty naturally for us, but logistics are more of an issue since everyone lives in different places. Ash would fly in from Vancouver, and he and I would jam together at our practice space in Boston. We didn’t have the luxury of getting together to jam whenever we felt like it, but in a way I think it actually made us more focused, since we had to make the most of our time together and not procrastinate. Added to that, Ash is an incredible player and he has a really diverse style which we’ve utilized a lot on the album. He can really go off behind the kit, playing some very intense technical stuff, as well as bringing in some more diverse elements drawn from his influences outside the metal realm.” Reuniting with producer Zeuss (Hatebreed, Bleeding Through), who also helmed Deathless and 2012′s Teratogenesis EP, the record packs the requisite punch, yet retains the organic feel with which it was conceived. Known for their technical prowess, the band remained dedicated to upping the ante without ever losing sight of the importance of good songwriting. Opener “Arbiters Of The Apocalypse” makes this abundantly clear, blending together breakneck thrash, crunching death metal flavors, plenty of visceral fret abuse as well as compelling yet unforced melodies. While they rarely hold back the aggression, it is very much pushed to the fore on the likes of “Communion” and “Copernican Heresy”, which are as savage as the band have ever sounded. However, they also retain and build upon the proggier aspects of their sound, as well as embracing triumphant “fist-in-the-air” moments, most notably on the chorus of “Arbiters” and the blistering solo that slashes through “Crumbling Imperium”. “We’ve always had a bit of a prog element to our sound, I think we’ve all just gotten better as musicians so we feel more comfortable pushing the envelope even more than before,” Davidson states. “Likewise, I try to write melodies and solos that aesthetically fit the mood of the part, and for me both those sections needed something really epic sounding, especially on the ‘Arbiters’ chorus. I was initially planning on screaming for that part, but the riff felt very anthemic to me, so I came up with a melody that was more in line with the triumphant nature of it.” That legendary shredder Marty Friedman unleashes a solo on “The Exaltation” was a dream come true for Davidson, and certainly gives the track an extra kick in the pants. “Marty has always been a huge influence on me and is someone I really respect. His solo on ‘The Exaltation’ has all the elements that I love in his playing, especially the element of surprise.“
While the songs come together to make for a cohesive record that is engaging from front to back, they are further united by the lyrical concept penned by Davidson. The title itself appropriated from Charles Darwin’s quote: “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin“, Davidson went about building a theme that was not only fittingly expansive, but also had real resonance with regard to contemporary society. “The concept revolves around the folly of man throughout the ages. Some themes come from historical references that are hundreds of years old, yet sadly these themes are still very relevant today due to mankind’s refusal to learn from the lessons history has taught us, time and time again.” To this end, the vocalist tackles issues such as political corruption and the buying and selling of lawmakers on “Only The Spineless Survive”, while on “Theatre Of Horror” he reflects on the place of public execution in Medieval times, and the manner in which it was supposed to shock and entertain the populace. Furthermore, he vents his anger and frustrations over the very real problems presented by climate change on epic closer “Cleaving The Ice Giants”, and the aptly titled “Monolithic Ignorance”.
Regardless of the state of the world, nothing is going to slow Revocation down any time soon. Whilst the lineup has changed over the ten years the band has been in existence, Davidson’s passion has never waned, and they are arguably sounding better than ever as they look toward the future. “We can’t wait to bring these songs out on the road and perform them for different audiences all over the world. ‘Great Is Our Sin’ is a new chapter for the band, and collectively we feel that it is our defining record to date.”