Invicta – Terminal Aggression

Friday, 14th June 2019

The search for new sounds is easier than ever in the metal genre – thanks to tools like YouTube, Spotify, and Bandcamp to name three of many. Take Canadian act Invicta – since arriving on the scene in 2017, they’ve issued an EP and full-length album, spreading their extreme melodic thrash style to a global audience. Their latest record Halls of Extermination slices and dices, wielding mighty riffs with speed and intensity, while also adding in the proper shred and melodic nuances that harken memories of classic Iron Maiden or Children of Bodom.

In the middle of a Canadian tour to support their latest effort, multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Kyle Edissi took some time to answer our questions about the band. You’ll learn more about his development in metal tastes and instrumental skills, outlook on Invicta’s two recordings, Cosmos-inspired artwork developed with artist Mario E. Lopez M., as well as possible future touring in the pipeline.

Dead Rhetoric: What can you tell us about your first memories surrounding music growing up? At what point and under what circumstances did you discover metal, and how did you gravitate from there into picking up an instrument and wanting to play in a band?

Kyle Edissi: Luckily my parents are both very musical, my dad is a guitar player and gear geek, and my mom is just a music fan in general. I grew up listening to Sabbath, Zeppelin, AC/DC, Hendrix, The Who, Cream, etc. since I was like five. Sabbath was always my favorite because it was heavier. In grade six my buddy in elementary school showed me Iron Maiden and I was like WOAH, then in grade eight another buddy showed me Children of Bodom and I was hooked. I had started playing both guitar and bass around grade five or six just learning Sabbath, Cream, and The Who by ear and by watching live videos on YouTube, then when I found Maiden I started learning all their songs on both instruments, then I heard Master of Puppets and learned the first 4 Metallica records on both instruments, but after hearing Hatebreeder by Children of Bodom I was like dude I wanna shred like that! And focused on guitar more, in grade eight I learned a ton of Bodom songs which is where I developed a lot of my theory knowledge and licks from because I am self-taught. I knew I wanted to play in a band when I was around ten watching the Black Sabbath Live in Paris 1970 videos on YouTube, and then when I saw the Maiden Flight 666 I knew I had to play in a band.

Dead Rhetoric: Invicta started in 2017 – tell us about the early days of the band, and have you always struggled to find a permanent bassist to fill out the lineup?

Edissi: A lot of my Invicta material was written or started between 2012-2015. I tried making some of it work with my first band, but it just wasn’t right for it. Then I started playing in a local band called Æpoch. I tried using a couple things and even writing new stuff for them but it just wasn’t working and I felt like I needed to have something where I could have my creative freedom and my material in the public instead of guitar pro tabs on my computer, so in late summer of 2016 I decided I would slowly start getting Invicta going. I had got my buddy Ian Schell to be on second guitar, we played together in my first band and also still play together in our Iron Maiden tribute band Ed Force One. In early 2017 a buddy that heard I was ‘starting a new band’ was throwing a show and asked if I wanted to be on a bill that was two-three months away and so I asked Greg (Æpoch drummer) and Chris (ex-Æpoch guitarist) if they could do me a solid and learn a few tunes for the show (Chris on bass) and they agreed and so yeah Invicta actually started.

Originally I just wanted to record a demo and just get songs out to see if people would dig them; that somehow turned into starting an actual band. Reef and I started talking and he wanted to play full time so I was stoked on that. So we started jamming together in early summer 2017. We tried out a bass player but it didn’t work out so Gabriel Rosa of Raider said he would be a session bass player for me as I played for Raider as a last minute bass replacement, which lead to moving to guitar and playing with them for almost a year. In the fall of 2017 I parted ways with Ian in Invicta because it just wasn’t working out. Reef convinced Jonah (who I had already been recording the Æpoch record with that summer and they also played in a band, Monarch Woods, together) to hop on board. I knew Steven from the Guelph scene from his bands Scorn and Unbowed. Originally we had talked about him joining on guitar but when I found out Jonah was into playing I couldn’t pass it up and Steve agreed to session bass.

As far as keeping a permanent bass player goes: I am pretty picky with how I want the bass to sound and be played on the recordings so I write it and record it myself so I am 100% satisfied with the parts. All the bass players I have had in mind to be permanent members as of yet, including Steve, are in other bands and simply have not been able to commit and contribute 100% to the band which is what we are looking for in a permanent member. It is totally fine playing in other bands and such, I have been in multiple bands at once myself so I understand it completely; we just want someone who is 100% on board for Invicta before we can have them contribute to the songs.

Dead Rhetoric: Your first EP The Executioner came out in March of 2018 – what can you tell us about the recording and songwriting development of this material? How do you feel about the overall output and experience, is there anything in retrospect you would change about things?

Edissi: Well, as I said earlier, a lot of the released Invicta material was written between 2012-2015. “The Executioner” is the first song I ever wrote and completed. “Forbidden Scriptures” was the last song from The Executioner era that I wrote and completed, I wrote that in a sitting or two after Reef had told me he wanted to jam with me. I was so pumped because he’s a sick and sought after drummer in the local metal scene and I felt honored and humbled that he wanted to jam that the riffs just came out naturally. “Promise Land” was the first song I ever wrote drunk (laughs). “Hamartia/Prehistoric” was originally one song but I decided to break it up into two for some reason, not too sure why. The lyrics for “Prehistoric” are some of my favorite because I just stayed up watching dinosaur documentaries on YouTube for a couple days jotting down notes and threw them into verses so it’s actually accurate and nerdy while still sounding sick.

Recording The Executioner was kind of a hassle only because it took so long. I recorded with Tyler Williams (Monolithic Productions) of Sludgehammer in Oshawa, Ontario. Our schedules only allowed us to meet up every Sunday so I had to drive two hours there and back every Sunday for a few months because I was recording all rhythms, bass, and vocals. Greg recorded the drums in a sitting in early summer 2017. When Jonah wanted to join the band, I took a little break from recording to teach Jonah the songs and give him time to write solos. Recording with Tyler was great and easy, he is a great dude and I always will recommend him. We recorded the gang vocals and leads at Jonah’s studio (HM Studios) in early 2018.

The EP is still kind of fresh, I think its really good considering I wrote the songs and riffs in high school without knowing half of the theory and songwriting skills I have acquired since. If I were to change anything it would probably just be a couple solos that I recorded that I was never too happy with.

Dead Rhetoric: Your latest full-length Halls of Extinction recently came out. Where do you see the major differences between this album and your first effort? Any surprises, obstacles, challenges, or interesting stories that you would like to share?

Edissi: I think the songwriting on Halls is a lot better, still most of those riffs I came up with in high school with The Executioner songs (Terminal, Sacred, Halls intro, Eye, Dark Side, and Rapture). Songs like “Sacred” and “Dark Side” I rewrote a number of times to get it to sound the way I wanted. Jonah wrote “None” after he came back from his first 70k of Metal experience. I wrote “Infinite” as I started jamming with Reef. I made sure to sit down and arrange the songs and take more time to make sure they sounded as sick as possible. There are a lot of differences between the two releases but the main one is we just spent a lot more time and effort trying to perfect the songs and sound because I only want to release the best material possible.

Recording was easy; we had been pre-producing and demoing the songs for six months so we knew what we wanted to record. Jonah was the engineer for the album and he busted his ass to make it sound the way it does. Everything was recorded in our rehearsal room/Jonah’s studio.

Jonah, Reef, and I have very conflicting schedules in our personal lives so getting together is a challenge sometimes, but we made it work. Jonah recorded 90% of the rhythm guitars because he is just tighter at recording than I am so I figured with him doing most of the rhythms it would sound best and was easier for timing because it was less to plan in terms of getting together and scheduling. With him recording the rhythms on his own schedule it allowed us to have more time to record vocals and bass. Recording gang vocals is always a great time with our brothers in Raider, Cathartic Demise, and our bro Ripp Ripperson of Rippr’d.

Dead Rhetoric: Can you tell us about the nine-minute long instrumental “The Rapture” which includes numerous guest solo lead breaks including members of Stratovarius, Allegaeon, and other Canadian musicians in the mix?

Edissi: I started writing “The Rapture” in probably grade eleven, my washing machine was making a weird sound in like 3/4 time and I started playing along to it and that’s how the intro was written. My goal from the start was to write an epic instrumental about the fall of dinosaurs. I wanted it to be a piece of music instead of just a song. I wanted to have a bunch of crazy solos over the riffs mainly because as a metal fan that is something I wanted to hear. I essentially wanted to write my own version of “Orion” mixed with “Ashes of the Wake” but wanted it even sicker than both. “Rapture” was also the song I was most anxious about releasing strictly because I wasn’t sure if people would be as stoked to hear nine minutes of guitar nerding as I would be, but I have always been proud of that song’s riffs and arrangement and knew it had to be on the record. Luckily so far, I haven’t heard any negative feedback about it which is good I think: most people are super stoked about it which definitely makes me glad.

Originally all of the guest solos but one were going to be played by guys in the Southern Ontario metal scene: to promote it because I am proud of it. One day I was just like, ‘It would be sick to have like shredders from bands I really dig on the track that I know will rip’. So I sent out messages to Dallas, Matias, and Fabio being like ‘hey I play in this band we are making a record with this shred song you wanna play a solo?’ and yeah that was it. Mike’s solo section was originally the one that I wrote to have David Davidson of Revocation shred over but his schedule didn’t work with getting it done so I messaged Mike.

To still promote local metal talent, Jonah got Kaleb Duck of Helix to rip a solo, they played together years ago in a band called Bravura. And I asked Taylor Wroblewski, who I played with in Æpoch to play a solo. I consider Taylor to be one of the best guitar players in Canada, even at 19, so there was no way I was not going to have him play a solo. Check out his band Cathartic Demise.

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