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Like a swarm of locusts converging to feed, a horde of blackened shirts and tattered denim emerged from the darkness and congregated to Hawthorne Theatre in Southeast Portland for an unforgettable night of cosmic destruction.

A new state, a new city and a journey across an ocean led me to witness two of the most forward-thinking, prominent names in Progressive Metal. Revocation, present-day, virtuosic heroes of modern Death Metal, co-headlined the night alongside long-time Canadian legends, Voivod.

The night began with a marathon of opening bands. Armed for Apocalypse got the show off to a energetic start with a no-nonsense, ferocity as only this hardened sludge-metal crossover could do. The impressive, genre-bending, UK-based quartet, Conjurer kept the energy at an all time high. Skeletal Remains created an atmosphere of old school death metal and performed in a amorphous reddish haze. And to top it all off, Australian technical death metal band, Psycroptic got everyone's neck warmed up for what was to come.

An eerie dissonance consumed the stage and the walls began to reverberate as Voivod’s bassist, Dominic “Rocky” Laroche, launched the band into their first song with a crawling bass riff off their EP, Post Society. Denis “Snake” Bélanger, Voivod’s dynamic frontman in his spike-emblazoned battle jacket snatched the mic and wailed with that gritty vocal aggression that sets him above all others.

Throughout the show, guitarist Daniel “Chewy” Mongrain and founding drummer, Michel “Away” Langevin established the dissonant landscape that Voivod has always been known for. They played songs from their iconic albums of the late 90’s, Dimension Hatröss & NothingFace and circled back to the present with “Obsolete Beings,” a song off their latest release, The Wake. Before introducing the new song “The End of Dormancy,” Snake told us all to imagine this song as a soundtrack to an epic movie that we could create ourselves.

Towards the end of their set, Voivod asked us to raise our voices and sing Happy Birthday in remembrance of their late guitarist and founding member, Denis “Piggy” D’Amour who would’ve turned 60 years to the day before breaking into their namesake, the self-titled, “Voivod” off their inaugural release, War and Pain. Throughout the night, the Canadian metal veterans lead us through a Voivod-ian mythos of winding, dystopic wastelands and catapulted us into the cosmos as only they can.

After a brief intermission, the silence was broken by a roaring orchestra and Gustav Holst’s epic, "Planets: Mars, The Bringer of War" played on the speakers overhead. The Boston metal ensemble, Revocation emerged on stage and joined in with their own instruments as a symbolic prelude to the odyssey we were about to begin. They would be playing their latest Lovecraft inspired offering, The Outer Ones, in its entirety.

The Outer Ones is a journey into the fathomless beyond, infusing pummeling death metal riffs, complex textures and a brooding atmosphere that if it wasn’t for Hawthorne Theatre’s impressive light show, I imagine would have swallowed the venue whole. Seamlessly flowing from one song to the next, the band played as if they were making a demonic offering to The Crawling Chaos, itself. Dave Davidson, Revocation’s Jackson-wielding frontman and vocalist, lead an impressive sonic assault with needle-sharp precision with every note and even shared vocals duties with guitarist, Dan Gargiulo.

This tour was certainly conceived in a starless darkness, a place void of light with only the sound of dissonance to comfort you. And with band’s from both sides of the cosmic spectrum as your guide, Revocation & Voivod is a combination you do not want to miss.

Raul Soria Jr.

Photojournalist - Portland

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