Hi! Thanks for taking the time to answer some questions! Before we start, how have you been?
I've been great, thanks for asking!
Revocation doesn’t need an introduction anymore and you guys really cemented your place in the scene with each new album. ‘Great is Our Sin’ is no different and I absolutely adored it! Have you been able to keep track of how it has been received so far and is it meeting your expectations?
From what I've seen the album has been received incredibly well by fans and critics alike. We're all definitely stoked on the reaction that it's been getting.
It seems like yesterday you guys released ‘Deathless’, but it has already been two years. Did the writing process for ‘Great is Our Sin’ differ greatly from ‘Deathless’?
It was pretty similar expect for the fact that we got a new drummer. Ash lives in Vancouver so we had to fly him out to rehearse or chat about arrangements over Skype so that was the main difference but everything else was pretty much identical to last time.
Normally, I ask bands about standout songs on albums, but that’s going to be hard this time around seeing as how every single song stands out in its own way. Starting with opener ‘Arbiters of the Apocalypse’. I got some great Nevermore vibes off of that for some reason. Are there any typical metal bands you would consider influences on Revocation’s sound, seeing as how there’s a lot of non-metal influences as well?
Well I'm definitely inspired by certain household names like Metallica, Megadeth and Pantera and I think you can hear those influences on certain tracks paired with our more underground influences. To my ears 'Arbiters' sounds like a weird mix of Metallica, At The Gates, Voivod and even Nile.
’Monolithic Ignorance’ was among the songs you released prior to the album’s release and it’s quite a bit different from what you guys have done in the past. It’s hard to say why though, as it checks every box in the Revocation checklist (if that’s even a thing): fast, heavy and with riffs that are out of this world. What sets this song apart from the others for you personally?
Dan wrote this song so I think that's one reason that makes it unique in a way because he brings his own riffing style to our sound. As a soloist it's a rather unique song as well because I utilized the whammy bar in a way that I never have before which I think creates an interesting keyboard like effect during the solo section.
There’s this great line at the end of the song – Those who sought to rule this realm / Have only meddled with it / The errors of their foolish schemes / Have brought about our ruin. What can you tell me about the lyrical themes on the album?
The lyrical themes were all inspired by the title of the album in some way. I wanted to chronicle some of the sins of mankind throughout history so I researched certain events from the middle ages up to present day to create an overarching concept around the folly of man throughout the ages.
’Communion’ was the first song you released and it’s a thrash banger with some great traditional riffing and incredibly fierce delivery, both vocally and instrumentally. The chorus especially hooked me in right from the start with the galloping and then the triplet feel. Are there any pitfalls you try to avoid when writing songs? Will you ever go “that’s not “Revocation” enough” or “that’s cheesy, let’s not do that”?
Yeah I try to avoid being redundant, my goal is to bring fresh ideas to the table but still make it sound like Revocation. I've gotten much better at identifying our aesthetic over the years so generally I can tell right away whether a riff will be good enough and work with our sound.
’The Exaltation’ is the only instrumental on the album. What made you decide on keeping it as an instrumental, assuming you don’t write lyrics and music for a song simultaneously?
We've put an instrumental on every full length album we've released so I guess it's just part of our vibe at this point. I wasn't sure what to do with that opening riff for the longest time, I couldn't picture vocals over it but once I decided to make that riff part of an instrumental everything clicked. I started writing other riffs that fit in an unexpected way because I didn't have to worry about a traditional song structure.
’Copernican Heresy’ really grabs the listener by the throat from the second it starts to the very last rung out chord. It features some amazingly intense drumming from your new kettlebanger Ash Pearson. How has it been having him in the band and what has his influence on the album’s writing process?
Ash is an amazing drummer and he's been a great addition to the team. Ash grew up listening to a lot of extreme metal but also is influenced by artists like Frank Zappa and Rush so he brought some of those progressive/fusion events into our sound. I think you can hear it in some of his fills or on certain drum parts like the chorus of "Copernican Heresy" His dynamic playing adds even more dimensions to our sound which makes the new album that much more diverse.
’Cleaving Giants of Ice’ is probably the most melodic we’ve ever heard Revocation. It also displays the semi-clean vocal passages that, if I’m not mistaken, haven’t been featured on albums before ‘Great is Our Sin’. I think they’re a great addition to your sound. When did you find you had the voice to do those?
I feel like I've really developed as a vocalist over the past few years and that confidence has led me to explore my range more and more with each release. We've had melodic vocals on almost every album in one form or another but I started using them more starting with the 'Deathless' record so now I'm just continuing down that path and further pushing my boundaries.
That nasty groove riff at the end is the perfect closer to a stellar record and I’ve always enjoyed those grimy riffs in your songs. Are there riffs that come more naturally to you or do you consciously sit down and write every single riff until it’s just right?
Most of the time the riffs come pretty naturally but there are times when I'll go back and refine a riff multiple times until it's fully dialed in. It's just part of the creative process, sometimes you nail it right away, sometimes you have to wrestle with the idea for awhile until it feels complete.
You’re currently on the Summer Slaughter tour with legends Cannibal Corpse and Nile (as well as Suffocation, After the Burial and others). What has it been sharing the stage with them?
It has been an honor to share the stage with a bunch of legendary bands! Everyone has been getting along great and the performances from all the bands are top notch.
You head over to Europe sometime in October with a stellar lineup of Obscura, Beyond Creation and Rivers of Nihil. Looking forward to seeing you in Haarlem on the 22nd! Anything the fans can expect? Lots of new material or do you have time for older songs as well?
We'll be playing a mix of some brand new stuff and some older jams as well.
Thank you so much for your time! Is there anything you’d like to say in closing?
Thanks for the interview, pick up the new album if you haven't grabbed a copy yet and come see us on tour!