Chris Cleo checks out the latest release from Canada’s Melodic Thrashers Invicta, here’s what he thinks…..
4 Years after their debut LP hit the scene, melodic thrash metallers from across the pond Invicta’s second offering ‘Triumph and Torment’ is set to release at the end of March 2023. I jumped at the message saying that we’d got Triumph and Torment as I had heard the debut ‘Halls of Extinction’ and knew we’d got our hands on a gem. From a good few years ago I’d known Invicta as one of the more brutal thrash bands in the underground as well as them being on the list of bands that have the ‘all songs gotta be 7 minutes long’ fetish (that’s just what I call it but you know what I mean). Whilst Halls… was a very clear depiction of how Invicta wanted to bring the melody and epic tracks to thrash metal, I’m sure anyone that’s heard of the band before is asking the question ‘how does this LP stack up against the last’…
…and I’ve got to say that the answer isn’t as simple as ‘it’s better’ or ‘it’s worse’, because Triumph… is a far more Diverse album. A melodic passage opens this disc, turning into a little run that plays before opener ‘The New Throne’ gets down to business. A pummelling intro riff brings you to the first notable difference between this album and the last – the double kick run. Of course double kick is a staple in extreme metal and should be for obvious reasons – and this is just mental. Drummer Shareef Hassanien has seriously levelled up his chops and it really shows throughout this whole record. I think that while the super-fast double kicks is something every thrash band wants to do (in praise of Lombardo and Hoglan), where on this record it’s sometimes used really tastefully to bring out the slower sections in songs like ‘The Morning’s Light’ and towards the end of ‘Sinister Obsession’. Of course everyone wants to go super balls-to-the-wall over the top with the drums – and you can hear it in the chorus of the first two songs, but it will be purely down to whoever’s listening as to whether it’s overkill or whether it elevates the whole album.
After making your way through the first 2 songs, you come to the first ‘epic’ (loosely termed – for reasons I’ll explain in a sec) of the bunch – ‘Apprentice of Death’. Clocking in at a meaty 7:14, this shouldn’t be something that takes a fan of Invicta by surprise. Whilst it’s the second longest track on here, it’s a decent chunk shorter than the more bloated songs from Halls… which brings us to the second major point about this album – the songwriting, which I think has vastly improved. The debut album has nearly every song run close to the 7 minute mark, where Triumph… seemingly holds a bit further back with the ‘epics’. I’ve put that in quotation marks because the songwriting takes these songs a cut above those on the debut. Even though a lot of these songs are far shorter than any of those that came before, I’d go as far as to say that the majority of what’s on here is more epic than before. Songs meander in and out of sections and mostly evade the inflated verse-chorus-verse-chorus structures that to me made the debut a bit of a mouthful. Hell I love bands that suffer from that …And Justice For All syndrome, but I reckon Invicta have really hit their stride with the way this album is arranged.
That all being said – the centrepiece of the whole effort is the title track. Clocking in at 11 minutes flat, this is the one that seems to be the ultimate statement in terms of what Invicta want to be seen as. At the end of the day I preferred the instrumental ‘Rapture’ as the closing epic, just because it was completely different to all the previous tracks and went through a lot of different sounding sections. Clean sections build into a verse chorus structure that fold in round themselves and while it’s not the first time we’ve seen a thrash epic, its still fast and brutal so what’s not to like.
Overall, the best cuts from Triumph and Torment are the shorter songs. It’s not that I’ve got the attention span of a cardboard box, I just think the speed and overall brutality sets them above the rest, whilst they’re arguably just as complex as the longer tracks. Of course there are some mandatory things to mention such as the production – which is modern but not overly clicky and ultimately makes a nice space for those slick leads to sit on – which are another aspect that make this record enjoyable. To answer the question that I opened with – Yes. I think this record is definitely better than it’s predecessor, which is great – it’s definitely more aggressive and more interesting.
Pick up a copy now on BC or on the normal streaming sites https://invictacanada.bandcamp.com/album/triumph-and-torment