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Invasion - Orchestrated Kill Maneuver - 78%

xysma333, January 9th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2010, CD, Rotting Corpse Records

Metal is given to hyperbole. It may be entirely fitting in as much as the genre is often about pushing the boundaries of what sounds can legitimately be called music, but it also has the effect of desensitizing fans to some otherwise really useful adjectives. So, you’re going to need to wipe your brain clean for the next few minutes and pretend you’ve never seen a record label blurb because, get this, Orchestrated Kill Maneuver is FACE MELTING! BONE CRUSHING! And … you better believe it, FUCKING BRUTAL!

This brain flaying-ness is primarily due to the guitar sound on the record. It is the sound of agony; the sound of a thousand pathetic, hopeless imps self-flagellating with bundles of half-inch twisted steel cables. They shriek as flesh gives way to bone. The sound is so grating and loose you can hardly make sense of it. It sends the mind into a confused spasm in an attempt to focus the ears as it would the eyes. The band themselves consider this a “Swedish” guitar tone, which, I suppose, is intended to reference the famous Entombed/Dismember/Unleashed/Boss HM2 buzzsaw sound, but you know, if you play Left Hand Path and then play this immediately after, you’re going to hear something much more like inspiration than influence; it’s the “Swedish” sound taken to a new extreme. It’s quite an accomplishment, actually. This guitar madness is complemented by the subservience of the drums and vocals. It is as if the other elements in the band have simply shrunken back into the shadows after realizing that there is no competing with the guitar.

Death/thrash is not a a wholly inaccurate moniker for the structure of the songs on Orchestrated Kill Maneuver, but there’s more to it than that. For starters, there’s more death than thrash to the mix. The guitar solos are firmly in the death metal camp with a squealing, careening sound to them. The vocals are not exactly growled but they are harsh as hell and would probably not work on a thrash record. The overall fast musical pace and rapid chord changes are more akin to thrash, but maybe closer still to punk. The record actually has a quite a bit of grind sensibility to it. Grind/thrash, anyone?

Since there isn’t a chance in hell of understanding enough of the lyrics to go as far as saying this is a concept album, let’s settle for a themed album, shall we? Samples are scattered throughout the album – machine guns popping, sirens wailing, Eastern European radio announcements, troops marching. Then we have the song titles: And Three Survived ( The Sinking of the HMS Hood), Firestorm in Dresden, Stuka JU-87 (Sturzkampfflugzeug), Breach of the Seigfried Line, etc., all of which reference World War II. There hasn’t been a war like that since, so there aren’t many folks alive who can tell you what full-scale combined arms combat sounds like, but Orchestrated Kill Maneuver would seem to be a damn good try at artistic representation if not a faithful reproduction.

Invasion were formed in 1989 but much of that time have been “locked in a furious battle with lineup changes and limited rehearsal spots.” Interviews would seem to indicate that involvement with other musical projects was a factor as well. The band’s last release, Berserk Artillery Barrage, was done in 2002. The very existence of records like Orchestrated Kill Maneuver give one hope, though, and restore faith. There most definitely are still guys around who make it their mission to up the ante in musical brutality for its own sake. Ah well, it’s called the underground for a reason, I guess. Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Steve)

Laying waste to the human race - 77%

autothrall, July 30th, 2010

I once picked up this Indiana band's previous offerings Conquered and Berserk Artillery Barrage at a discount rate online, expecting very little but receiving a heaping helping of pure war metal in a thrash/death style not unlike Bolt Thrower, but in seeking out further information, found that they hadn't been active in some years. Well, an eight year silence is broken with the spending of munitions as the band arrive at their most punishing effort, Orchestrated Kill Maneuver, which is out through Rotting Corpse Records. The focus of the album is World War II, with broadcast clips and samples of gunfire and engagement scattered about the intense thrust of the music, which impacts like a repeated explosion of heavy guns straight into your unprotected ears.

You can still hear a little of the Bolt Thrower influence, but the band have adapted a very thick, almost Swedish style tone to the guitars which is perfect for their brand of simplistic, grinding thick rhythms that develop mood more so than complexity. The band also has a penchant for incorporating strings of bleeding melody right at the margin of perception, while vocalist 'Phlegm' has a voice like Karl Willetts and Martin van Drunen sharing a cigar as they witness radar points blinking out of existence from some bunker. There is no intricacy to this music whatsoever, so its surprising just how the band are able to offer dynamic variation from track to track, and I have to hand it to them: they are the best US war/death metal band, especially if feel you would fancy a blend of Asphyx, Pestilence, Bolt Thrower, Death, Incantation, Dismember and Autopsy.

If you want fast, you've got it in "Devil's Garden (Journey Through...)", a disgusting, hammering fit of shell-shock with evil melodies repressed to twist their way forever through the grinding bursts of sheet metal. Here, snarls accompany the lower guttural vocals, and the band visits a bluesy, wailing lead over thick chord-smudge and thrashy plodding. "Firestorm in Dresden" feels like Bolt Thrower performed at Entombed Left Hand Path speed, and "When Trumpets Fade" wraps itself up tightly, a savage bombing run but about as stealthy as a tank airdropped into your living room. Honestly, though, it is the band's slower and mid material which really drives the bullet fire home, like the slower chugging in "And Three Survived" or the pulverizing, thick thrash of "Infinite Waves of Human Flesh" and the breakdown in "War Machine". Other great songs include "Black Thursday (Trapped in a B-17)" and the finale "Breach of the Siegfried Line".

Invasion might not win points for originality, but they receive them for effectiveness. The tones, riffs and vocals will all seem familiar to some degree, but its the way the band puts them together in such a hostile envelope of hopeless brutality that makes this a go-to album for those seeking the black/white imagery of war documentaries manifest through death metal. This album will easily please fans of pundits like Hail of Bullets, Bolt Thrower, Napalm Death, Asphyx and perhaps even the crop of newer, atmospheric death metal bands worshiping Incantation, that is, if they don't mind an increase in propulsion and firepower and lyrics that take one out of the corpse eating catacombs and onto the fields of battles past. In the end, a band that many had probably thought was history has just taken history and smeared it across your face.