Invasion ‘The Master Alchemist’ CD 2009
Some things just aren’t going to work, like a Chihuahua fucking a Great Dane, bacon sandwiches at a Jewish wedding, Jordan and Peter Andre…doomed to fail. So if you take a slightly nerdy Sleep obsessed guitarist, a female John Bonham who plays her drums like she hates them and sets her cymbals on fire live and a black soul diva on vocals who takes to the stage wearing a multi coloured wizards cloak, leave out a bass player and get them to record an album of twelve wizard obsessed songs that last a mere 21 minutes you may well think I was taking the piss. Far from it. Invasion are one of the most exciting musical propositions this country has produced in some time and with appearances at last year’s Download festival and in the pages of NME it seems I’m not the only one to think that.
It’s metal Jim but not as we know it. Syrup thick, stoner infused riffs are given the amphetamine treatment as the band pelt through these dozen hit and run charges that at various times throw in influences from Ragga to Drum and Bass without ever losing sight of their metal roots. Chan’s helium fuelled soulful vocals take centre stage giving the band a difference that sets them aside from pretty much every other female fronted group…ever. Marek’s sole guitar wrenches riffs from his fingers that would make The Sword beg for mercy and Zel’s drumming would make an elephant shit itself at 60 paces.
It wouldn’t be fair to say that Invasion are retro, they’re not even now, they’re definitely looking ahead to the future but despite this the album was recorded at retro heaven Toerag studios that operates soley in the analogue realm. Thus, for all its futuristic trappings and forays into spacey effects the band has captured a warm and deep sound on this album despite dispensing with any four string shenanigans.
It is hard to pick out killer tracks, they’re all hopped up to the eyeballs with killer intent and a bucket full of guts though Evil Forest gets the nod as the track most likely to hit the radio airwaves and Six Red Wizards breaks down to a groove that could wipe a mosh pit out…fortunately at barely two minutes long stamina is not a prerequisite. Closing track Chaos And The Ancient Night is the one track where Invasion ease back on the throttle into a more conventional stoner type groove and at just short of three minutes is clearly their epic prog tune!!!
The question is, how does this work live? By their own admission the lack of a bassist can render their sound a little thin though I suspect the sheer energy they produce will more than overcome this. What I want to know is how long their sets are? With songs this short do they go down the hardcore route of playing 20 songs or are their sets a short sharp thank you and goodnight?
Admittedly I know this album won’t appeal to everyone, it’s idiosyncratic, unusual and falls pretty far outside a lot of people’s narrow perception of what metal should be but where it may not appeal to everyone I certainly will to give this album a listen…and I don’t mean on some set of shitty PC speakers on Myspace. Buy it, stick it in a proper stereo, turn it up, persevere with it and let the magical secrets of the wizards unfold themselves to you.
Label: This Is Music Ltd
Scribed by: Ollie Stygall