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If you thought Artillery was the only thrash band from Denmark conjuring up some wicked metal, then Invocator is here to enlighten you with their brand of technical thrash. I'm not saying that these guys are better than Artillery, because they're not. "By Inheritance" is one of the greatest thrash albums ever made, but "Excursion Demise" isn't bad either and is probably better than some of Artillery's material. While both bands play the more technical style of thrash, there is absolutely no way that Invocator could be mixed up with Artillery.
The most notable difference is definitely the speed and the death metal influence on "Excursion Demise." These crazy danish bastards really wanted to go fast because this record is pretty much a blitzkrieg throughout with an occasional midpaced moment. Luckily for Invocator, they knew that an album consisting of nothing but speed throughout could get a little dull after awhile, and they manage to mix in some nice breaks here and there. Some of them are extremely headbang friendly ("The Persistence From Memorial Chasm" and "Schismatic Injective Therapy") and add some heaviness to this speed-demon. Along with the occasional breaks in tracks the instrumental featuring a near-sinister sounding acoustic "(...To A Twisted Recess of Mind)" serves as a great transition between the title track (The best song on this record by the way) and "Forsaken Ones."
As mentioned earlier, this record is ridiculously fast, which is both a positive and a negative on "Excursion Demise." It's a positive because there are plenty of stellar riffs here and there that are a result of the speed. The riffs found in the songs "Beyond Insufferable Dormancy" and the title track are fantastic. They tend to follow a more death metal style, but they're more controlled and are perfect for headbanging along to. As for the negative part, some of the riffs just come off as spastic or repetitive. There aren't any songs in particular because this is present in a lot of them, but there is usually a really good riff in the same song to make up for it.
Another negative aspect of this album is the length of the tracks. I have no problems with longer songs, as long as they can keep my attention and to be honest Invocator failed there for the most part. "Schismatic Injective Therapy" is probably the biggest victim of this. There are definitely some moments of brilliance shown on the track but it goes on too long and could have been cut down a bit. If a band is going to write songs that are longer, they need to have enough dynamics in the music to keep one interested, not sit there and wank on the guitar solos. Seriously, these guys put a lot of attention on the guitar solos, and while they're not horrible they're nothing special and they dominate the music for quite some time. To put things simple, there should have been more focus on the riffs and overall structure than spending too much time being a fretboard warrior.
Aside from those problems there is a lot right with this album. Jacob Hansen's vocal performance is a definite highlight here. He sounds like a really sweet mix of Chuck Schuldiner and Chris Bailey, and the way he just spits out the words in rapid-fire fashion reminds one of Steve Reynolds. It doesn't matter if he's barking out lyrics at the speed of the extremely fast riffs or if he's singing with the heavier midpaced riffs, Hansen's performance deserves a beer because it's really well done. The drumming isn't anything too special but the speed on this record has a lot to do with the intense work behind the kit. The bass playing here is pretty tight and even gets some moments to shine on its own ("Occurrence Concealed" and "(...To A Twisted Recess of Mind)").
The verdict here? Invocator's debut album "Excursion Demise" is some very solid metal that any fan of thrash should be able to enjoy. This record definitely could have been better, but it's still a very worthwhile album that possesses some top-notch material and another that proved there was some great thrash in the nineties.
"Beyond Insufferable Dormancy"
Originally written for Nightmare Reality Webzine.
Invocator has produced without a doubt one of the fastest albums ever recorded with “Excursion Demise”. Maybe even the fastest. An insane combination of high-speed technical thrash with a hint of death metal is displayed on this debut. If you have ever heard their demo material, they knew what they wanted to do. Make insanely fast thrash metal. And they do it oh so well.
Well let me start with the production. It is decent. It does sound good, but it has so much to be desired. The guitars are thin. They are just plain not heavy; I guess this works out for the best because of how fast the riffs are. The bass has a few stand-outs but when when it does come out it is still quiet. I can’t even describe how the bass sounds. The drums on this album are near perfect. But again they sound kind of thin. Very tinny sounding, but they seem to fit the rest of the production.
The songs are FAST. And I don’t mean Slayer fast. I mean if Slayer played at the speed of “Necrophobic” times 2 it would be as fast as this stuff. A great example of how fast these guys are is “The Persistence from Memorial Chasm”. It starts out fast, keeps going fast, has a slowed down catchy section, and starts with the speed once more. “Excursion Demise” is probably the slowest song on here, but it is still insanely fast. It starts off with an extremely creepy intro, with a sweet riff after, and then comes the speed. This song also has a very heavy and catchy chorus and is easily the best song on here. “Occurrence Concealed” is the other masterpiece on this album. It has a crazy bass intro area and also has a catchy chorus.
Now the riffs themselves are like I said, FAST. Fast but they make sense. They are all over the place a lot of the time, (“Persistence”), but don’t go out of control. The chorus riff in the title track is a good example of how good the riffs are. Same with “Occurrence Concealed”. The drummer…wow. This guy has some freaking stamina. How he manages to keep this tempo going for 4 plus minutes is beyond me. His style is pretty unique. He doesn’t just do thrash, he throws in some insanely fast double bass and has crazy all over the place fills. The vocals are very raspy, perfect for death/thrash. I don’t know if there are some pitch-shifted sections but there are times where a very deep voice says a few words in the background. Very good mixture of all the different vocals styles.
There isn’t really a bad song on here, but after a while the speed is kind of overwhelming. Oh yea, and the solos are awful. They are the typical shredding solos that have so reason or rhyme to them. But as with everything else on here that would appear negative, always has a positive aspect to it. The solos fit the music.
In my opinion and it may be fact, this is THE fastest thrash album ever. When it comes to speed, nobody can touch these guys. They pull off the speed and competence so well. If you don’t have this album, get it. Right now.
Best tracks – “Excursion Demise”, “Schismatic Injective Therapy”, and “Occurrence Concealed”
Artillery may be the central legend of Danish thrash in the 80s, but they weren't the only band there kicking ass and taking names. Invocator performed in a relentless, technical style with angry vocals reminiscent of Ron Rinehart's style on Dark Angel's Leave Scars. There's also a slight edge of death metal to be heard.
Excursion Demise was their debut album and one of their best. It's pretty much pure energy from beginning to end. The title track blares forth after a brief intro, weaving a web of bewildering speed and precision mutes. The brief acoustic interlude "(...To a Twisted Recess of Mind)" leads into the charging thrash of "Forsaken Ones". Some other great tracks on the album include "Absurd Temptation", the raucous "Schismatic Injective Therapy" and the raging "Beyond Insufferable Democracy", but there is nothing here that will bore you if you favor their brand of twisted tech speed metal.
Although the heady song titles might imply this is some album full of pseudo-intellectual bullshit, the lyrics speak otherwise, as they are quite good:
'Devoid seeking human quality, that seems lacking in our excursion
burning waters, fervent pain, mirrors screaming, dark reproach
Words that you speak leave a trembling fear in me
emersion of shallows sympathy, forsaken souls now will fall as one
dementia, never saw the sun
As solid as this album was on the whole, few of the tracks were truly catchy. It sounded great, the musicians were on par with almost anything else coming out of European thrash, and they were not short on riffs, but unfortunately none of these riffs were of the 'to die for' variety. Basically the style is a hyper version of the Bay Area sound with a dash of prototypical death metal. I will still play this album from time to time as it's good enough for its day, but it does lack the songwriting which turned other technical speed metal records like By Inheritance and Deception Ignored into such memorable efforts. However, if you are into obscure and riffy thrash metal of the 80s and 90s, this is well worth tracking down, as is the follow-up Weave the Apocalypse.
Also, want to buy more mind flayers on album covers...mind flayers = sex.
One of those overlooked trashing gems. Everyone always mentions this as speed/thrash metal, but I always thought of it as a death/thrash album. Why? Everything but the vocals scream early Scandinavian death metal, except more solos, blistering speed and technical ingenuity surpassing even those fine folk. So to me this is a death metal record with some speed influences, perhaps, and some really thrashy vocals. I like this album a whole hell of a lot because it is old school and metal as all hell, almost thrash for sure, and it does not have any sort of distractions form the awesome guitar work. If anything the bass is kinda quiet and the low ends are kinda weak because their recording style is so guitar centric and catered to the guitarists’ fancies. This is not a problem the dual six strings take up all the space they are given gracefully, and rip your fucking head off with blistering speed and crazy trem picks, even crazier solos, in the thrash metal vein, bit noisy, actually. The riffing includes everything from trem picks to stop and go palm muted shit, all really fast, generally following the double bass like on their title track ‘Excursion Demise’. They also incorporate a good amount of pinch harmonics and strange dual guitar leads next to all of their traditional soloing, making them absolutely enjoyable. The drums are insanely fast Morbid Angel worship drums, double times, no blast beats, sickening bass drum patterns and lots of following the guitar around. But they make it worth it all the way, in my opinion. The intro track has some beautiful melodies on the classical guitar, and then straight into the title track, which has basically what today would be considered a slam riff, except, played in a really thrashy way. All of the songs are top notch on this one, although the songs coming from the demos are particularly good, in my opinion. If you like nicely done complex thrash, or if you like plenty of thrash with your death, this album is a must for you.
This is a really cool release, in the vein of perhaps Believer, Coroner, and Atheist, except this is a lot faster and crazier. This is definately one of the most uncommercial things ever released, because of the insane riffing going on. There's just so much fury in this that it's nearly overpowering.
Vocals are very much like Kelly Schaefer's on the first Atheist album, and they lyrics are spat out in rapid fire fashion (there's SO many lyrics, as well, it's like a goddamn telephone book!). This makes it seem kind of death metalish, along with the speed. In fact, it's pretty hard to really put this in one category. Blast beats nearly all the way though the album, with the occasional slower part. The little acoustic piece after the first song is pretty neat, too. The guitar solos are absolutely shredding, like the first Deicide album but sounding much better. Surprisingly, there's very little groove on here, which they would go and do on their next album, and magnum opus, Weave the Apocalypse.
There are some flaws. All the songs have a million riffs in them, and they're really long. This makes it pretty hard to get into, especially with all the technicality going on. The song titles and lyrics are preposerously long, and seem to be an exercise in using really advanced words (think Carcass, but not funny). Despite the flaws this is a great album, and highly reccommened to anyone who likes their thrash played at light speed.
A criminally underrated band, IMHO, Invocator started playing their brand of hyperfast technnical thrash back in the late 80's, with 2 demos.
This album shows a very similar style to their second demo "Alterations". Fast, unrelented, technnical thrash similar to Atheist, Believer etc. The labum cover is really weird and the packaging is decent for their time. Very good production and decent mix make this album worth getting if you are really a thrash fan.
These musicians are top notch and the more you listen to their songs, the more you discover. There are tons and tons of riffs in every songs, but you don't get lost. The songs structures are clearly stated with some small, but extremely interesting susprises here and there. THis album is totally enjoyable from star to finish, with no boring moments at all.
Now, the vocals are aggressive, but not a death grunt. Maybe a less screechy Mille would be a good starting point. One of the high lights is the rythm section. Solid bass and drumming, yet they managed to play some very dynamic patterns in each song. Impressive.
So, if thrash is your thing, go ahead and search this one out. It's worth it.