David Davidson: Guitar / Vocals
Brett Bamberger: Bass / Vocals
Ash Pearson: Drums
Revocation would like to dedicate Netherheaven to the memory of Trevor Scott Strnad, May 3rd, 1981 - May 11th, 2022. Rest in Power, Trevor.
Boston-based progressive death metal outfit Revocation return from the Lovecraftian outer limits on new album, Netherheaven. Four years in the making, the Billboard-charting trio-featuring Dave Davidson (vocals/guitars), Ash Pearson (drums), and Brett Bamberger (bass)--meticulously explore the allegorical and literal aspects of Hell as they dig deeper into the darker, more diabolical side of death metal. In short, where the previous album, The Outer Ones (2018), jettison Revocation into the horrific maw of the cosmos, Netherheaven bores deftly through the nine rings of Hell to directly confront Lucifer and his multitudinous faces. The album's stunning Renaissance-style Paolo Girardi (Firespawn, Power Trip) cover art says it all.
"We're definitely in more of a death metal mindset than on earlier albums in our catalog," says Revocation songwriter/frontman Dave Davidson. "We're focusing on how we can write the best death metal-centric album that we possibly can while still pushing our boundaries. The new songs on Netherheaven are evil and sinister but also have a progressive element to them to keep things interesting. It's got our stamp on it, no question."
Revocation was formed in 2006. Spearheaded by Davidson, the group issued Summon the Spawn's three-song demo. Word spread quickly that a new powerhouse was emerging from the Northeast. When Revocation issued their self-released debut album, Empire of the Obscene (2008), extreme metal was officially on notice. Since then, they've released six critically-acclaimed albums and toured over 25 countries, bringing their technically-charged, high-energy extreme metal to rabid fans in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific. Netherheaven is Revocation's latest impressive barrage. With tracks like "Diabolical Majesty," "Nihilistic Violence," "Godforsaken," and "Re-Crucified," spotlighting the inimitable vocal talents of Trevor Strnad (The Black Dahlia Murder) and George 'Corpsegrinder' Fisher (Cannibal Corpse), the gifted threesome aren't holding back.
"We're leaning into really dark themes on Netherheaven," Davidson says. "This is our crack at Satanic, diabolical death metal. Each track is a great representation of the album as a whole. 'Diabolical Majesty' is a ripper of a song-classic, in-your-face death metal. It's got an energetic chorus, a groove laden bridge, and the solo showcases our progressive side . It's a great opening song, I think. 'Godforsaken' is more of a mid tempo bruiser. It's got a Dying Fetus vibe with its slammy verse riff, but the bridge takes a left turn into this epic, looping melody that's quite hypnotic and haunting. Sort of reminds me of something off of …And Justice for All with the dual harmonized leads that swell right before the band kicks in. "Re-Crucified" is another banger that doesn't let up! We got Trevor and 'Corpsegrinder' to sing on that track, and they're just incredible."
Davidson's relentless on Netherheaven. Musically, it's Revocation's darkest and heaviest yet. Lyrically, it's a sharp lens into Hell and the harbingers aiming for its introduction. Inspired by Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, Robert W. Chambers's The King In Yellow and in part by America: The Farewell Tour by Chris Hedges, the album's lyrics tackle religion (Catholicism), hypocrisy, politics, the occult and demonic symbolism with a wry sleight of hand. Combined with Paolo Girardi's Hieronymus Bosch-informed cover art, this is Davidson speaking truth to power through skillful and artful metaphor. Of course, throughout Netherheaven, death metalisms run amok, but that's all part of Davidson's grand design.
"'Godforsaken' tackles the idea of the Rapture, but with a twist." says Davidson "God has had enough of the human race and decides to cast his creation into the fire. As Doomsday cult preppers and holier than thou preachers prepare to ascend they realize their God has forsaken them and damned them to Hell. I was raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school. That symbolism and iconography are ingrained in me so I thought it would be cool to invert that imagery all in the name of death metal. 'Diabolical Majesty' is about the satanic temple in Salem, Massachusetts and their fight to put up the Baphomet statue on government property. They're trolling the religious right. It's an important statement about freedom of speech in America especially when evangelicals and politicians are strengthening their alliances and imposing their will on democracy . 'Re-Crucified' was inspired by Dante's Inferno. I read that book when I was in high school and recently revisited it to get into the right mindset when writing the lyrics so I felt it was only fitting to use it as inspiration for the album closer. 'Nihilistic Violence' references the modern-day Hell we live in, especially after the events of January 6th-the crumbling of U.S. infrastructure, the fractures and divisions in society, and the people stoking the divisions. There were a lot of dark moments during the pandemic, but I think January 6th will go down in infamy."
Netherheaven was written during downtime after the album cycle for The Outer Ones was complete. The album's nine tracks were written solely by Davidson, who spent his time between genuflecting at the altars of Luc Lemay (Gorguts), Chuck Schuldiner (Death), Marty Friedman (Megadeth), and celebrated jazz guitarists Wes Montgomery and Kurt Rosenwinkel. Between writing killer riffs and absolutely wild solos, the seven-stringer also practiced (technique), studied (theory), and taught guitar. Revocation truly changed gears when Davidson picked up audio engineering (with Apple's Logic Pro) to use the pandemic-era lockdowns effectively. It made perfect sense for him to helm the engineer and producer's chair at his newly-built HeatWave Studios for Netherheaven. Revocation then sourced Swedish studio ace Jens Bogren (Opeth, Kreator) to mix and master at Fascination Street Studios.
"First, we had Shane Frisby engineer the drums at The Brick Hithouse in Massachusetts," says Davidson. "We did the drums to The Outer Ones there, too. After that, I engineered everything myself, which was a complete first. I know the pandemic was dark and depressing for many musicians and artists. I used the downtime to learn new skills to better myself. I had to keep moving. So, I learned how to record audio and video. The workflow process was something I had to learn too. Trial by fire. I had dabbled in recording before, but nothing like a full album recording. I tracked all of my guitar parts, engineered Brett's bass parts, and my vocals. It was a nerve-wracking experience, but it was cool to be the ship's captain. I've come a long way since my days of recording riffs onto old cassettes."
Revocation will release Netherheaven on September 9th. It will be their fourth album on Metal Blade. Indeed, as the adventurous triumvirate enter their 16th year, they show zero signs of slowing down or softening up. Quite the contrary. "Diabolical Majesty," "Nihilistic Violence," "Godforsaken," and "Re-Crucified" are heavy, aggressive, musically clever, and ruthlessly crafted. If death metal was looking for an Album of the Year, it's got a top contender in Netherheaven.
"I want to make a strong impact on our fans that have been with us since day one," Davidson says. "Hopefully, we make an impact on a whole new generation, too. This will be their first time hearing Revocation potentially. There was a long gap between The Outer Ones and Netherheaven. It's the longest we've waited to put out a new album. We put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into the album. We want people to be inspired. It's brutal. We brought our A-game on Netherheaven."