Revocation & Voivod at First Unitarian Church

Revocation & Voivod at First Unitarian Church

Performers:
Revocation
Voivod
Psycroptic
Skeletal Remains
Conjurer
All Ages
Revocation, Voivod with Psycroptic, Skeletal Remains, Conjurer at First Unitarian Church

Revocation

David Davidson: Guitars / Vocals

Dan Gargiulo: Guitars / Vocals

Brett Bamberger: Bass / Vocals

Ash Pearson: Drums

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 Crowbarand 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.”

Voivod

The only predictable thing about Canadian cosmic-metal warriors Voivod is that they will forever be unpredictable. On the warpath for more than 35 years, Voivod have pushed their sound relentlessly forward, constructing imaginative musical realms with each endeavor. They literally changed the face of thrash metal in the ‘80s, forged new prog-metal ground in the ‘90s, and kept up with changing times and lineups in the 2000s with fresh, inspired music.

In 2018, Voivod’s 14th studio album, The Wake, is upon us. The band’s original members, drummer Michel “Away” Langevin and vocalist Denis “Snake” Belanger, find themselves reinvigorated and reenergized by the presence of guitarist Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain and new bassist Dominic “Rocky” Laroche. Mongrain, now celebrating ten years in the band, has done a more than respectable job replacing original guitarist, the ever-beloved Denis “Piggy” D’Amour. His contribution to the making of The Wake was as integral to the new album as was Piggy’s leadership during his reign.

The Wake steers the Voivod spacecraft through a tangled, tantalizing storyline, woven into the most maze-like, edge-of-your-seat musical experience the band have embarked upon since those heady days of the late ‘80s. Songs such as “The End of Dormancy,” “Iconspiracy” and “Spherical Perspective” churn and twist in such a way that no Voivod devotee could possibly have wished for more. While previous album Target Earth was a grand rebirth for the band, and 2016’s Post Society EP a promise of adventurous things to come, The Wake takes the approach of those recordings, widens the parameters, and introduces a few bold new facets to the Voivod soundscape: prominent acoustic guitars and classic music flourishes are woven into the controlled electric calamity. The Wake is sure to be hailed alongside previous achievements Dimension Hatröss, Nothingface and The OuterLimits.

Psycroptic

Tasmanian Extreme Metal.

Skeletal Remains

Old SKULL Death Metal.

Conjurer

UK-Based Riff Music.

Venue Information:
First Unitarian Church
2125 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA, 19103