Friday, July 30, 2010

Invasion - Orchestrated Kill Maneuver (2010)

I once picked up this Indiana band's previous offerings Conquered and Berserk Artillery Barrage at a discount rate online, expecting very little but receiving a heaping helping of pure war metal in a thrash/death style not unlike Bolt Thrower, but in seeking out further information, found that they hadn't been active in some years. Well, an eight year silence is broken with the spending of munitions as the band arrive at their most punishing effort, Orchestrated Kill Maneuver, which is out through Rotting Corpse Records. The focus of the album is World War II, with broadcast clips and samples of gunfire and engagement scattered about the intense thrust of the music, which impacts like a repeated explosion of heavy guns straight into your unprotected ears.

You can still hear a little of the Bolt Thrower influence, but the band have adapted a very thick, almost Swedish style tone to the guitars which is perfect for their brand of simplistic, grinding thick rhythms that develop mood more so than complexity. The band also has a penchant for incorporating strings of bleeding melody right at the margin of perception, while vocalist 'Phlegm' has a voice like Karl Willetts and Martin van Drunen sharing a cigar as they witness radar points blinking out of existence from some bunker. There is no intricacy to this music whatsoever, so its surprising just how the band are able to offer dynamic variation from track to track, and I have to hand it to them: they are the best US war/death metal band, especially if feel you would fancy a blend of Asphyx, Pestilence, Bolt Thrower, Death, Incantation, Dismember and Autopsy.

If you want fast, you've got it in "Devil's Garden (Journey Through...)", a disgusting, hammering fit of shell-shock with evil melodies repressed to twist their way forever through the grinding bursts of sheet metal. Here, snarls accompany the lower guttural vocals, and the band visits a bluesy, wailing lead over thick chord-smudge and thrashy plodding. "Firestorm in Dresden" feels like Bolt Thrower performed at Entombed Left Hand Path speed, and "When Trumpets Fade" wraps itself up tightly, a savage bombing run but about as stealthy as a tank airdropped into your living room. Honestly, though, it is the band's slower and mid material which really drives the bullet fire home, like the slower chugging in "And Three Survived" or the pulverizing, thick thrash of "Infinite Waves of Human Flesh" and the breakdown in "War Machine". Other great songs include "Black Thursday (Trapped in a B-17)" and the finale "Breach of the Siegfried Line".

Invasion might not win points for originality, but they receive them for effectiveness. The tones, riffs and vocals will all seem familiar to some degree, but its the way the band puts them together in such a hostile envelope of hopeless brutality that makes this a go-to album for those seeking the black/white imagery of war documentaries manifest through death metal. This album will easily please fans of pundits like Hail of Bullets, Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death, Asphyx and perhaps even the crop of newer, atmospheric death metal bands worshiping Incantation, that is, if they don't mind an increase in propulsion and firepower and lyrics that take one out of the corpse eating catacombs and onto the fields of battles past. In the end, a band that many had probably thought was history has just taken history and smeared it across your face.

Verdict: Win [7.75/10]

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