We all know that death metal, as a sub genre, has become increasingly technical in the past few years, with each generation of musicians trying to break the ground rules established by their predecessors, on an incessant search for defining new thresholds of what might be technically possible to do within the style. However, there are a few bands who try to keep the spirit of the movement’s inception alive, developing their sound around the vicious, brutal, raw, visceral and sick sounds which characterized early death metal in its beginnings. Sweden’s Invidious, formerly known as Katalysator, a bastard son of bands such as In Solitude, Repugnant and Malign, are actually one of the few bands who reject the technical eccentricities of our contemporary generation and try to stand as one of the flag carriers for old school Death Metal. Their first four-track EP, “In Death” is what might be described as a blasphemous and unholy union between the attitude of early Bathory, the rawness of Mantas (later Death), the brutality of Autopsy and Possessed’s ability to write phantasmagoric riffs.
“In Death” has all the ingredients, which combined, can get really close to emulate early death metal’s original formula. And no, we’re not talking about the rise of the Tampa Bay phenomenon between 88 and 90. We’re talking about its true roots in 84/85, when death metal began to emerge as an evolution or shall we say, a detour onto a darker path from its Thrash Metal original template. Hampe Death and Andreas Meisingseth spit rusty and acidic riffs, building up a disturbing disharmony which finds on J.K.’s punk influenced primal drumming and blast beating styles, a basis for the creation of a musical identity which seems displaced from our days and truly belonging onto a previous time in musical history. Backing this even further is Pelle Ahmann’s vocal performance. His raspy voice reminds us quite frequently of Jeff Becerra and David Vincent’s early vocal tones, especially when he uses echoing to project his voice as both singers did early in their careers.
Talking about the songs, “Black Blood” sets up the evil atmosphere which ensues throughout the whole EP, by means of a fast and furious entrance while “Dead Salvation Spawn” follows on the footsteps of the first song, but at the same time shows us more elaborated hooks, reminding us of Darkthrone’s “Soulside Journey” on a few moments. The third song, “Throne of Death”, stands as a fusion between black and death metal, oscillating between riffs and rhythms inherently characteristic to each genre, and the finisher “Visions” is the most varied theme here, with several speed shifting sections and some quite elaborate guitar work.
Generally speaking, “In Death” is an obscure EP on which the musicians, all of them with proven credentials, invested on trying to create a dark and evil atmosphere, instead of just trying to create another staple of virtuosity equal to what a thousands of bands are doing out there. And this is one of Invidious greatest strengths, as they’ve earned credit by betting on the revival of death metal’s most crude, raw and primordial form, and managing at the same time to confide a chilling and restless cold to whoever listens to this EP. Its production could be better in the sense that it’s really possible to do better than bands were able to do back in 84/85, but its state is probably an artistic choice made by the band, which was probably more interested in invoking the dark and grim aura of the genre’s first days. Well, after such a debut, we now await for the first full length with hopes held high. Truly advisable, specially for fans of old school Death Metal.
(8/10 Luis Alves)