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raging battle themes - 80%

odradek, January 21st, 2007

It's apparent from a quick glance at the album artwork and song titles that Invasion crafted "Conquered" with a singular thematic purpose, to expound on the glory and pain of warfare. It turns out that not only do all 8 tracks share common subject matter, but they are very similar sounding as well; but for the sporadic interruption of battle sound effects introducing a new track, there is very little variety in instrumentation or sound texture from one song to the next. Nonetheless, the short track lengths, the frequent tempo changes, a constant barrage of drum fills, and a torrent of raw energy ensure that the album's momentum never wavers.

The sound quality is rough, and the drums are so far forward in the mix that the other instruments strain to be heard over each other. It's an unconventional formula, but one well suited to the band's character, as the drummer overplays tirelessly against a buzzy rhythm guitar backdrop while the vocalist trades off against concise but poignant lead guitar melodies. The vocals are a raspy gurgle, and while the words themselves can come across a bit unclear at times, the ferocity with which they are spewed leaves no question as to the intent. The overall sound is a bit reminiscent of some rawer 80s thrash works, like Kreator's "Flag of Hate" or Slayer's "Haunting the Chapel", but with less distinct riffing and the drums playing a more prominent role.

Invasion's subsequent release "Berserk Artillery Barrage" would sound a bit maturer in structure and feature the instruments mixed at more traditional relative volumes, but somehow my ears prefer the unique and unbridled chaos of "Conquered". This is a fun and energetic album.