Thursday 10 October 2013

Intervew with Revocation

Self-christened “technical douche thrash” band Revocation rolled into Manchester on Saturday, along with headliners The Black Dahlia Murder and main support act Aborted and proceeded to cause mayhem. The four-piece Boston band are still riding high on their latest, self-titled release. Calling it their best yet, it’s a record that marries melody and brutality perfectly, one that marks the band’s growing maturity and ability as song writers and musicians; perhaps the reason why they decided to release this as a self-titled album.

By the close of their set, they have more than just warmed up the audience; as you can see on countless faces dotted about the room, they have won the vast majority over. It exemplifies how this band is going from strength to strength and, as I greet bassist Brett Bamberger and drummer Phil Dubois-Coyne in their dressing room afterwards, they seem to be in a good place right now. Still topless, Phil is sweating profusely after a rather intense pummelling of his drum kit. Beers in hand, we discuss everything from circle pits and the new album, to riders and Metallica.  

SL) So, you’ve just come off stage here at the Band on The Wall in Manchester, and this is officially the first ever metal gig this venue has seen.

Phil- Really? Well when we arrived this morning the place was being used as a day care.

SL) Well I can tell you that you started the first circle pit this venue has ever seen

Brett- We started it? That’s awesome! I like that, we had a good time.

SL) You’re on a huge bill tonight which must be a great opportunity for you to go out there and win some new fans?

Brett- Yeah, it’s a good package for us. The only other European tour we’ve done was with Dying Fetus so all the brutal death metal people came out and then there was us. I mean, we must have seemed like a punk band to those kids.  Black Dahlia are a closer match to us.

Phil- We’ve played Manchester before, twice I think. This is an awesome opportunity for us that’s maybe a little more in line with how we sound.

Brett- Not to say we don’t like Dying Fetus, but it suits us more stylistically. We’re not brutal enough for Dying Fetus. 


SL) My editor described you as thrash metal versus black and death metal, is that what you strive for in your music?

Phil- We draw from a lot of different types of music.

Brett- I don’t think that we’re a thrash band, but we do have thrash parts.

SL) I think that genres and sub-genres don’t always mean a lot, but to me there’s a definite Megadeth influence?

Phil- Oh yeah, for sure.

Brett- Genres help describe what a band sounds like but you’d sound like a fucking douche bag if you described all the different stuff that you’re into. We’re extreme metal.

Phil- The best title we’ve come up with is technical douche thrash.

SL) Your not just here to warm up the crowd tonight though, you have a new self-titled album out; tell us a little more about that?

Brett- We all feel like this is the strongest album that we’ve ever done. Every year you play your instrument you get a little better at it. It’s a less flashy album but it’s not radically different [to our previous albums].  

Phil- We’re progressing as musicians and getting better at what we do. We’re a little bit more mature with our song writing.

SL) Are you a band that thinks about what type of music you want to write or is it just a case of ‘here’s a riff, I like it’?

Phil- Yeah, absolutely. We don’t go into it thinking ‘we need to do this kind of song now.’ Maybe if we’re closing in on a whole album we may want to mix it up a bit, but for the most part [Revocation guitarists] Dave or Dan will bring a full song or a load of riffs to the table. If we like it or if we think it sucks we’ll tell them.

Brett- We write rough drafts on our own and then bring it to the rest of the band and jam out on it, see what we like and change things. So, by the time the song’s finished everyone’s had an input.

SL) Are you an honest band, if someone comes up with an idea that you think is shit do you tell them?

Brett- Yeah, and then the person that you’re shooting down gets mad [laughs]. But you’ve got to, otherwise you’d have fucking nu metal riffs.

Phil- We’ve gotten a lot better at being polite about it. Sometimes it’s like ‘dude, that’s fucking terrible, come on man.’

SL) But a band is a democracy, that’s a key thing.
Brett- Exactly, we’re definitely a democratic band.

Phil- That being said it doesn’t happen that often. Dave and Dan write fucking killer riffs basically all the time. Very few riffs are just all out scrapped. At most there will be a lot of discourse, mostly about drums.

Brett- I feel like we scrap our own riffs more than we tell anybody to scrap them.

Phil- Well when we come up with an idea it’s like ‘well I like it, so fuck you.’

Brett- [Laughs] We usually debate how a riff should feel which is mainly about drum work. So, ‘is this a thrash riff or what?’

Phil- Yeah, and then we’ll go through it and play every variety until we like about 2 out of 8. So we try to use both of them in a song. 

SL) Do you try and have as many riffs in a song as possible?

Phil- No, we’ve gotten over that. At first we had a lot of 7 minute songs.

Brett- We still have long songs, they’re just a lot more focussed.

Phil- When we play those longer songs live you can tell you just lose people.

Brett- It’s fun for us but for a non-musician watching us it isn’t.

Phil- That’s not to say we have a pop formula but I think the new songs are a little bit more formulaic. We have enough albums by this point where we can see what works. We’re never gonna write a song that sounds like a marshmallow.

SL) Your new album has a Metallica cover on it, Dyers Eve. Whose idea was that?

Brett- I’ll take credit for that [Laughs].

SL) It’s a pretty brave decision to cover Metallica.

Phil- We had some debate; I wanted to cover Enter Sandman. Dyers Eve is such a ripping song though. It was a really influential song for us when we were growing up.

[After several distractions, the interview gets back up and running, all questions at this point have gone out the window, alcohol has taken over.]

Phil- We try and make that happen [raises glass of Stella].

SL) Do you have a rider then?

Brett- We have actually.

Phil- Three of four years ago we threw a bottle of Crown Royal on it just as a goof and once a year a promoter actually gets us a bottle…We should put cheese on our rider too.

SL) It shows whose serious about having your band on.

Phil- Yeah, that’s the whole point behind the brown m&m’s right?

SL) Come the end of this tour, what’s next for you guys, what does the future hold?

Brett- We’re doing a US tour with Death Angel, Battlecross, 3 Inches of Blood and Diamond Plate, so that will bring out the true metalheads and probably an older crowd too. It’s good fun playing to different crowds. We’ve toured with so many different bands from death metal to nu metal. We’re a bit more selective about what tours we go on than we used to be. We used to be just happy to get out there.

Phil- What’s great about touring with these bands is that you get exposed to all these talented individuals, trade licks and talk theory with them all. What’s really cool about metal is that it’s really open ended in terms of what influences you can blend into it. Metal is experimental and progressive by nature, it’s trying to push the envelope all the time.

Words by : Phil Welller

Revocation, the band’s 5th studio album is out now via Relapse Records.  For more information visit: You can read our review here