Invader – Invader (6 March 2012, Innervenus Music)
Hey! What are you doing tonight? If you are anywhere within driving distance of the Southside of Pittsburgh today, cancel those plans now. You are going to need to get yourself down to The Smiling Moose bar, where they are throwing a CD release party you will absolutely not want to miss. More details on that later; first let’s talk about this relatively new (founded in 2009) local band Invader and why you’ll definitely want to check out their self-titled album that has just been released by Innervenus.
Invader first came to my attention when their song “Plow City U.S.A.” was included on the Pittsburgh-area metal compilation Iron Atrocity v.1 (I can’t imagine any reason why you wouldn’t have a copy of it yet, since it’s awesome, and also free to download, but JUST IN CASE, you can grab it from here). Then, I saw word around town that the band was putting a new record out this week; the official press release had two main points that really caught my eye: first, it listed similar artists “Nicki Minaj, Lady GaGa and The Grateful Dead,” and went on to say the five members of the band’s “goal is to play music that they themselves wanted to hear.” Now, clearly that first part was a joke, but I did really appreciate the second quotation, because too often people just try to latch onto whatever current trend is out there, instead of playing what is genuine, and I think it really manifests in the sound a band produces.
Anyway, if you know anything about the history of music in Pittsburgh, there has always been a very strong punk and hardcore scene here, which has included quite a few great bands over the years. This seems to have really permeated the city, because a lot of the metal bands around the area have adopted very punk-ish attitudes and aesthetics, with heavily hardcore-influenced rawness of sound. Just like bands such as the Misfits or Motörhead, it can sometimes be hard to classify whether they’re metal or punk or somewhere in between. I wish that a word existed to accurately describe a hybrid between metal and hardcore, but the only one I can think of has already been appropriated by people describing some sort of emo-esque whiny shit — and I would never refer to anything that sounds good by using that word. (If anyone has a better suggestion to describe a metal-hardcore blend that doesn’t suck, please let me know!)
Anyway, with or without adequate descriptive words for classifying the band’s genre, it should suffice to say this album kicks some serious ass. It’s full of awesome angry hardcore vocals, but this is also a band that knows how to keep it interesting by changing up the dynamics from time to time — because usually music that stays turned up to eleven from start to finish can get to be as monotonous and boring as something that doesn’t rock at all.
Sometimes the band tends to follow a more metal path, such as a song like “Lesser Species” which is built on top of a really quick thrashy drum explosion. “Tools of God” offers an excellent example of the great dualling guitar lines that are found all across the album – the two parts are almost identical at times, break apart from each other a little bit at other times, along the lines of what NWOBHM legends Iron Maiden or Judas Priest usually employed with their multiple guitarists, except in this case demonstrating a somewhat rawer punk/hardcore vibe. “I’ve Never Wanted to Kill You More” is another highlight, including some more awesome guitar interplay, as well as some of the more punky-sounding vox to be found on this record. That song does use some more metallic vocal stuff too, and also some doubled vocal parts in places with a semi-melodic quality that bring to mind NYHC greats Helmet.
Elsewhere, they do change things up a bit with some dynamic contrasts, as I had mentioned, such as “Nunnamaker” which is a brief (just over a minute) track of noody ambient instrumental stuff. At the end of the song “BDR 529” there is some maniacal laughing, which was either sampled from “Thriller” or a very well-done recreation of Vicent Price’s part. Finally, after all of this, there’s also a bonus track – just about a minute or so from the end of the final track. It uses the melody and guitar part from that stupid “Nobody loves you when you’re twenty-three” song ( I can’t remember off the top of my head who it is, and I’m too lazy to Google it, but you know the one I’m talking about) but with altered lyrics. The solo singer and guitar arrangement, plus the goofy satirical vibe actually make it sound more like a tribute to the bonus track from Dookie.
Like I said at the beginning, if you are in or near the Pittsburgh area this evening (Saturday March 10th), you’re totally in luck because you can catch Invader – along with two other great Innervenus-associated acts, Storm King and Killer of Sheep – at the Smiling Moose on East Carson Street. Show starts at ten and it’s only five bucks to get in!!
Invader: Facebook, Reverbnation, Myspace
Innervenus: Official Website, Facebook
Iron Atrocity: Official Website, Facebook
Storm King: Official Website, Facebook
Killer of Sheep: Facebook, Myspace
The Smiling Moose: Official Website, Facebook
Of course, I know this is really short notice (or, you might come across this review after the show happens), and also many of you readers live in different places all over the world, so it might not be feasible for you to get there tonight. If that’s the case, then I feel bad for you. But all is not lost… you can check out three of these songs on their Reverbnation page : “I’ve Never Wanted to Kill You More,” “Plow City U.S.A.” (also the one that appears on Iron Atrocity v.1), and “Lesser Species”. Then, you can order a CD directly from Innervenus, or you can buy the MP3 Download from Amazon.