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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.