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The problem with being a Power Metal band these days is two-fold: firstly, the genre has now reached saturation point, and, particularly for those signed to Limb 'quantity > quality' Music it can be difficult for new bands to gain any attention for themselves; secondly, there is now very little new ground to be covered - virtually every original idea has now been realised and done to death, so if a band is going to rehash something, they had better do a damn good job of it or be consigned to obscurity.
So - do Invictus bring anything new to the table? No. Do they do a top-notch job of showcasing something we've heard a million times before? Not really. Will they be be forgotten under the sheer crushing number of their Limb Music label mates? Most probably - but for what its worth, I'd say this album does a reasonable job of keeping the listener entertained.
The only really unusual thing about Invictus is that they are from France, hardly a country known for its Metal scene. Other than that, they play a style of progressive-tinged Power Metal not a hundred miles away from, say, Kamelot (although the gap in quality compared to that particular band is considerable) that is played by many other bands on the continent.
I must say I was surprised to learn that the band have no full-time keyboard player (my copy of the album is a promo) as their music is drenched with keys, although usually playing background 'symphonic' stuff rather than Finnish-style lead parts. In this sense the music shows a little similarity to label mates Rhapsody. The drums are much, much better than the Italian band's however - timed double kick fills are order of the day here, and rise above the genric 'afterthought' drumwork that plagues many bands in the genre.
The guitar is somewhat subdued and the music is lead for the most part by the powerful vocals of Frederic Glo - many reviewers have commented that he sings in a strong French accent, but this is not something I have noticed myself. He sings in more of a 'croon' than your generic Euro-Metaller and his voice lifts more than one song on this album from averageness into something more memorable - just check out the awesome a cappella section at the end of Miracle, it will haunt you for days. Glo is probably the band's most powerful weapon and they utilise him well
Unfortunately much of the other songs on the album are rather unmemorable - opening track(s) Depression Part I & II (did you really need to split them up guys?) are probably the overall high point , with many of the other songs seeming to blend in and out of each other (the deadly curse of uninspired Power Metal), which is something the band could perhaps fix by giving their guitarist more freedom of expression. For the moment though, Invictus sit next to other 'so generic it hurts' Power Metal bands as Morifade, Revoltons, Adagio...the list is endless.
In short - if you are a Power Metal fan and you see a copy of this album going cheap in your local record store it may be worth buying. If you want some Prog/Power Metal for full price though, save the money for a band that does a better job.
For fans of: Kamelot, Kenziner, Rhapsody
Top songs: Depression, Miracle, Car Crash