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Album Reviews : George Kollias – Invictus

By on April 19, 2015

Cover6I’ll be honest; I was super hyped for this album. I came into this feeling about as giddy as a pre-teen freckled redhead with braces at a one second of direction concert (did I say that right?). George Kollias is a death metal legend, best known as the drummer for tech death juggernaut Nile. And like Karl Sanders before him, he has decided to extend his expertise into writing a solo album, titled Invictus. While the musicality is a far cry from the sheer brutal technicality of Nile, this is still a solid metal album that I thoroughly enjoyed listening to.

The term “death metal” really doesn’t apply in the context of Invictus, which is surprising considering Kollias’ background. In fact, this album borrows more from black, groove, and even grind more so than death. Many parallels are sure to be drawn between this and Behemoth, Kataklysm, and fellow Greeks Rotting Christ. This has some Ancient Greek influences that create an epic atmosphere, and portray a sense of grandeur about the music.

The drums are, obviously, the most prominent aspect of this album. Kollias does what he does best; seamlessly stringing blast beats, deep, heavy toms, vicious double kicking, and furiously precise drum fills. Those familiar with Kollias’ work in Nile will feel right at home listening to this.

The guitar work has an Eastern/Greek flavour, composed of simplistic riffs using black metal chords and palm muted chugging (and yes, there are breakdowns). While it does the job, it might bore some listeners because Kollias centres a substantial amount of riffs around the same chord, like a child facing every new situation ass first with a security blanket over its head. Thankfully, the leads redeem the overall repetitive nature of main riffs on the album. Solos on the album are fast, frenzied, and diverse between each song, giving each its own unique twist.

The vocals on Invictus I particularly enjoyed. While few and far between due to the focus being on the accentuated drum work, the vocals are a gurgling high pitched scream that’s sickeningly viscous if paid close enough attention.

Highlights from the album are the furious but foreboding track “The Passage,” the ambience and sinister melodies of “Voices,” The rapid firing “Epitaph,” and the simply devastating “Shall Rise/Shall Be Dead.” The only real issue I had song wise with Invictus was “Apocalypse,” which uses a terribly anachronistic sine chorus clean tone over an already satisfactory acoustic guitar, in what would have been a great interlude without it. It just feels incredibly out of place, like splicing 20 minutes of Tropic Thunder into a documentary about the Holocaust.

Overall, this album may not be the death metal annihilation that people are expecting, it’s still praise worthy for its incensed drum work, great vocals, and chaotic solos. Fans of the aforementioned Rotting Christ, Behemoth, Melechesh, and Satyricon should find Invictus a rewarding album.

About

Benjen is a qualified teacher residing in the south-east suburbs of Perth. Benjen was introduced to hard rock at the age of 12 with Papa Roach's "Love-Hate Tragedy," and has developed a love for hard rock and metal since. He also has a keen interest in gaming and almost every fandom imaginable, from Doctor Who to Deadpool. He can be followed on Twitter @thetoadmode