photo by Brenda Daniels
An EP is a great starting point. Follow that with playing WJJO 94.1 Sonic Boom Sound Lounge and Taste of Madison in 2017, and you are ready to lay down your very first full-length CD. Revolution-X did exactly that when they celebrated the release of R-Evolution last month with two rowdy release parties.
Having spent the last few years honing their sound, the four members of Rev-X overthrew the standard metal sound with Producer Paul Schluter at Megatone Studio. Guitarist Danny Tableman, along with Jay Austin (bass), Scott Wallace (drums) and Dan Swanson (vocals) expanded from their original 5 song EP to highlight an all-inclusive sound, with 9 brilliant tracks on R-Evolution.
I don’t honestly think you can fit any more heavy-metal instruments and power vocals in the first 10 seconds of a song than Rev-X did for their first single “Go Deep”. Packed with deep growling vocals mixed with peaceful harmonies, “Go Deep” is like a sucker-punch to your ears. “That song sat on the back-burner for a while,” shares guitarist Danny Tableman, “It was one of those things, and it was just a simple riff that I started playing. Once we started jamming together it took on a new energy, but for the most part, it pretty much stayed true to the way I wrote it. It’s like someone walking up behind you and bitch-slapping you on the back of your head [laugher].”
Tableman’s guitar work is woven throughout R-Evolution with Jay Austin’s submersive bass lines. Tableman explains how Revolution-X began. “Jay and I were both in different bands. It took about two years before we started jamming in Jay’s living room. After our manager (Kevin) introduced us to Dan Swanson (vocals) we just knew that he was THE guy. Everything seemed to click.”
Taking over on lead vocals has been both a challenge and a growing experience for Swanson, who has learned a lot from the band’s first EP. When asked about the big difference between their EP Burning Empire and their new release R-Evolution, Swanson sarcastically chuckles, “Well, there are more songs [laughter]. There was definitely some growth. I wasn’t trained vocally, and I didn’t have writing experience. When we were making the EP, we had never played a show. Now that we have a year or so of playing together, we went into Megatone Studio knowing that our abilities had grown. I didn’t want to record not knowing if I couldn’t do it live. I know I’ve grown so much.”
Combining that growth and confidence as the band’s front man, Swanson helped mold the album’s title track “R-Evolution”, “There is a lot that went into that song. One was a riff and the lyrics were from a different tune. That was actually two different songs. The guys wrote the music, I came in and moved some of the lyrics and chorus around and re-made it. It created this cool ‘hard-driving’ song all the way around. That’s why we thought it should be the title track, and there’s a lot of meaning to it.”
Playing and practicing on a regular basis, the Janesville crew has formed a tight unity amongst themselves, especially when they brought in their newest member, Scott Wallace on drums. “We had a lot of feedback from drummers from all over, guys all the way from Detroit”, praised Swanson, “but when Scott came in, he absolutely destroyed it!” Wallace noted how impressed Swanson must have been with his audition, “During the first run-through of the songs, I think I nailed it, even though I only had a short time to learn the songs. Especially when Dan looked at me and smiled when he forgot the lyrics [laughter]. It just fit, our style and chemistry. I’ve never been in a tighter group.”
That unity and relaxed environment has led the group to fun and productive writing sessions. Austin laughs at the band’s creative process, “All our songs come from jam sessions. We never try to write a song.” The album’s middle and ending cuts lay deep with true metal songs such as “Get Up”, “Wanna Be” and “Bloodbath”. Adds Austin, “I think that [Bloodbath] came from a drunk jam session [laughter]. The bass and guitar had killer riffs. I just swapped the riffs and we all looked at each other and knew it.”
Closing out R-Evolution, Tableman pays tribute to his son who he lost in March 2018, with “Jordan’s Song”. “I actually wrote that song without any lyrics, acoustically; as a lullaby for him. Dan wrote the lyrics which are true to heart. Everything he sings in the song are actual events and things had happened over the course of those days where I had to tell my son goodbye. It was originally written from a happy place, welcoming him to the world, and it ultimately became a song about me saying goodbye to him. We had never practiced it before we recorded it. It’s absolutely a raw track, it’s as raw and rough as it can get.”
As free flowing as R-Evolution is, with only 9 songs; it leaves you wanting more. The overall revolution style of music doesn’t stray far from the familiar simplicities that all four band members bring to the album. The group is currently writing new songs and they are eager to play more shows this fall. Looking back on their accomplishments thus far, Tableman is eager to get back out to do more live shows, “Now that we have experience playing shows, in front of small and big crowds, we’ve been able to grow. We did a show at The Crystal Grand Theater with Bobaflex and that was a wicked crazy show, everybody was into it. Same thing for Taste of Madison, it was like an out of body experience, the stage was huge, and we got to see all those people. It was one of the best experiences of my life. We’ve got six shows next month, three more shows with Bobaflex, and one with Dixie Duncan in Beaver Dam. But, we love to take our time and write songs. We take our time off very gracefully! [laughter]”
Trust me, you’re the only one who will need to take some time off and rest after you check out a Revolution-X show or crank up their newest CD: R-Evolution. A true metal riot for your headphones.
Catch Revolution-X in September on the 14th at the Back Bar in Janesville with Bobaflex and the 29th at the Red Zone/Annex with Ultrea.(1855) Page Views Revolution-X Online:
• Website • Facebook
CD: R-Evolution Record Label: Self Released