Invicta – Triumph and Torment (SubLevel Records)Wednesday, 29th March 2023
Although four years have passed since releasing a killer debut album for Halls of Extinction, Canadian thrashers Invicta haven’t sat idly by when it comes to issuing some cover material during the downtime. Their takes on special songs from Yngwie Malmsteen, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden appeared as singles or on the Kitchener -Waterloo Metal Cover Compilation – while awaiting things to open up worldwide for this second full-length Triumph and Torment. Expanding to a four-piece (welcome bassist Steven Rowlands), the elevation of tenacious riffing, vicious rhythms, plus attacking vocal growls to screams beyond the progressive, pounding tempo template takes the band’s sound to further heights of exhilaration.
The picking maneuvers and galloping propulsion from Kyle Edissi and Jonah Kay as twin axe maestros give plenty of listeners (and fellow musicians) thoughtful passages to explore, devour, or ponder as treasures. Check out the blistering rhythms into melodic transitions that traverse thrash, death, or blackened angles for “Apprentice of Death” while melding together aspects of Kreator, Revocation, and veterans Iron Maiden during the thunderous “Sinister Obsession”. Amidst the normal metal action, there are spots of aural reprieve – the acoustic-laden instrumental “Preeminence” a solid, tasteful interlude before the next melodic thrash number “Embodiment of Infamy” takes command. Drummer Shareef Hassanien shifts between mid-tempo and breakneck snare/kick duties without losing the plot for this highlight cut, injecting his fleet fill work with that extreme to progressive textures that mesmerize. The title track at 11:32 is the longest and appropriately most shape shifting in terms of mood, atmosphere, and dynamic diversity. Starting in a morose fashion, the sharp riffs and instrumental interplay between guitars, bass and drums give off again a classic meets death/thrash seesaw battle feel before Kyle’s low, discernible growls and sadistic screams rip through the arrangement. The twin guitar action plus narrative sequence mirroring Iron Maiden in their epic classic manner, before circular guitar melodies and a calmer clean movement end the proceedings on a serene note.
Superior Pär Olofsson cover art as well as proper mastering from Jamie King puts Invicta shoulder to shoulder with the contemporaries in their genre when it comes to sound, tone, and overall professionalism down to the finest detail. Triumph and Torment takes that massive leap from promising contenders to genuine threat for winning over audiences no matter what venue/festival they choose to play.