Invictra – Of Flesh, Steel, and Stone (Self-Released)

Monday, 11th October 2021
Rating: 8.5/10

Much like veteran artists who chose to be creative while the world went on COVID-19 lockdown, many DIY and self-released metal bands wasted no time diving into fresh tunes, recording them, and waiting to put them out to a world starving for entertainment options. Add Invictra to that list – as their last EP Chaos Theory came out in the previous summer, and here we are with the follow-up effort Of Flesh, Steel and Stone. Continuing their volley match between groove/modern and thrash/progressive genres, there’s an underlying sense of strength and confidence as the four-piece accentuates their sound with tact, finesse, and a boatload of hooks from all angles.

The hidden nuances come a bit more to the forefront in alternative picking or unusual sequences to add that extra dynamic depth to an already interesting framework. The marching spirit for “Enemy of Your State” allows guitarist Josh Zalar to execute his gritty screams and clean melodies brilliantly, the final instrumental sequence incorporating an almost jazzy/new age-like passage against the mid-tempo electric churn. Flexing a bit of their progressive chops / interplay during the opening parts of “Simmons Hollow”, this almost eight-minute effort has that groovy flow and anticipation elements to maintain interest without exhausting the listener, in a way that Megadeth, Machine Head, and Trivium have all been able to deliver in their prime. These musicians feel equally comfortable hitting their stride in shorter, focused bursts like the three-minute and change “Scrape” delivers (the rhythm section parts exemplary) but the epic nine-minute plus “Revenant” illustrates the ebbs and flows of their skill sets – a slow builder that contains fluid soloing before bursting at the seams in twin guitar harmonies and thrash pacing.

Western New York has plenty of talent in the genre, and Invictra has been a mainstay of the new breed that is well worth the energy investment in their catalog. Of Flesh, Steel and Stone showcases these musicians in a hungry light, content to pummel all with their sophisticated blend of groovy, modern thrash that pulls from the old as well as new guard.

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