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Invicta - "Split By The Sun" (CD/EP)

Invicta - "Split By The Sun" CD/EP cover image

"Split By The Sun" track listing:

1. Riptide
2. Edge of the Shore
3. Split By The Sun
4. At A Crossroad
5. Circles
6. Magnolia

Reviewed by on January 25, 2013

"The sound is one immediately recognizable in its ingredients, but altogether unique in totality, with traces of Cynic, Lamb of God, and even Redemption to be found."

By taking the Latin-based band name of Invicta, meaning "unvanquished," the band has already introduced an over-arching theme to the music. Through several strengths shown on "Split By The Sun," the band’s debut EP, Invicta touches on why it is unvanquished, led on by the team of vocalist Mike Schii and guitarist DJ. The sound is one immediately recognizable in its ingredients, but altogether unique in totality, with traces of Cynic, Lamb of God, and even Redemption to be found. And what's more? It's free to download here.

Most noticeable right away is the hardcore and progressive metal foundations, hitting with a sub-drop within the first thirty seconds of "Riptide," just before the first riff is transformed into a lake of chorus- and reverb-effected clean guitar and clean singing. The lyrics are from a downtrodden perspective and hammer effectively on the phrase "kick me low," now striking out at their hypothetical oppressor. The riffing and drumming involved, especially in "Edge of the Shore" is anything but simple, speaking to the members' technical abilities.

Schii utilizes false chord death growls to great effect, and even maintains clarity through admirable pronunciation. With the extremely punchy mix being handled by Tony Gammalo (Chimaira), his growls have been used in accent positions throughout the songs, much like the style of Impending Doom. There are noticeable song structures at work behind him, although the song can change tempo and time signature at a moment's notice, sometimes culminating in a fulfilling breakdown.

The title track involves complex jazzy clean and distorted guitar chords, as well as vocal leads and harmonies, which are expertly followed on bass and elaborated on by deft fingers. "At a Crossroad" breaks the mold of the record and jams in the verses, but quickly moves into a world of sound approaching Between The Buried and Me in feel. The guitar solo in "Circles" is a tastefully technical highlight of the album.

Lyrically, "Magnolia" touches on the delicate subject of child abuse and life beyond it, in keeping with the theme of survival. The song is not technically on the EP, but is available free with the download of the EP. Some of the changes between sections of songs work and some eat at the energy of the track, but the songs on the whole are carefully crafted and don't stray too far from cohesion. This young Nashville-based band has defied the odds to release a unique debut EP with both depth and length to it, clocking in at 32 minutes if you add in "Magnolia."

Highs: Solid blend of progressive and hardcore, as well as great vocal clarity even in death growls.

Lows: Transitions out of certain song sections can throw off the energy level.

Bottom line: Heavy-hitting progressive stylings infused with jazzy hardcore with a clean singing/death growl combo.

Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls
3.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)