Berklee College of Music isn’t known as a magnet for heavy metal guitarists. But for Revocation front man David Davidson, a committed shredder raised on old-school Metallica and local metalcore stalwarts Killswitch Engage, it provided a perfect follow-up to the four years he spent at a Boston arts high school.
“Berklee heavily influenced me while I was there,” said Davidson from a recent tour stop in Seattle. “I tried to study with different teachers every semester, and it really broadened my horizons. … I did one of those ‘choose your own adventure’ majors.”
Immersion in technique, theory, arrangement and music history with jazz/fusion masters gave Davidson important insights. “I learned a lot from them,” he told e-zine Lords of Metal in 2009. “I try not to write typical metal riffs or solos, and some of the atonal aspects of jazz gave me a different perspective on composing and soloing.”
Davidson continues this eclecticism with Revocation. “We draw our inspiration from just a ton of metal bands that do everything under the sun,” he says. “If we can thrive on it, we can be inspired by it — classics like Megadeth and Dimebag, or the technical side of things with bands like Martyr. We play around with the sound and push ourselves to come up with more unique riffs and sound structures.”
The group includes drummer and founding member Phil Dubois-Coyne, guitarist Dan Gargiulo and Brett Ramberger, who joined on bass earlier this year. 2011’s Chaos of Forms featured a number of progressive elements, the kind of technical death metal a Rush fan might love. But the recently released EP Teratogenesis finds the band at its brutal best.
“We try to do something a little bit different each time, and the new record is pretty aggressive,” agrees Davidson.
Teratogenesis is available as a free download, and was commissioned by automaker Scion. The company has backed Revocation on tour and included them on sampler discs. “When they said they wanted to do an actual release of our material, we were all about it,” says Davidson, adding, “it’s free for our fans, which is awesome and it’s a high-quality recording … so we’re pretty excited to be working with them.”
The band’s roots go back to 2000, when Davidson, Dubois-Coyne and Anthony Buda formed Cryptic Warning as high school students. In 2006, they decided on a name change. “It was a reboot, we started fresh,” recalls Davidson. “Until then we’d never really toured, and the writing we were doing was so far ahead of Cryptic Warning. It re-lit the fire under our ass, so we could go a long way.”
Six years and four albums later, the band is on the road seven months out of the year, but the transition from hopefuls to headliners took a lot of work. “We came up with the punk rock scene, doing DIY shows in a couple of cool Boston metal bars, but also a lot of basements,” says Davidson.
The Manchester show is the final appearance on a tour that began in Canada in mid-October; they were in Europe for a month prior to that. Revocation doesn’t spend much time in New Hampshire, but Davidson recalls a Dover Brickhouse gig a couple of years ago: “It was really good show and we’re looking forward to coming back.”
Paperstarship Entertainment, a new company based in Manchester, is promoting the show. After difficulties securing a venue, the company announced Nov. 5 that the event is happening at Country Inn & Suites in Bedford.
According to Paperstarship talent buyer Jordan Huffman, the effort began when the promoter at Rocko’s Bar & Grill decided to close shop, leaving a void in the local music scene. “We want to keep bringing good rock and metal to Manchester,” says Huffman.