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Invicta - "A Portrait of Home" (CD/EP)

Invicta - "A Portrait of Home" CD/EP cover image

"A Portrait of Home" track listing:

1. Generic God
2. Driven Into The Ground
3. Blessed Assurance
4. Open The Door
5. The Peripheral Sound

Reviewed by on February 4, 2013

"With few pretenses, the band has managed to put out a visceral second EP worthy of everyone's attention."

Nashville, TN progressive outfit Invicta was poised for success with debut EP, "Split By The Sun" (reviewed here), but have since upped the ante even more with "A Portrait of Home." Like wild dogs keen to the scent of a kill, the band charges out on the first song with a quick rhythmic attack, unleashing the power of the almighty riff. What's also evident is that the band has made more use of the space generated by the clean passages between heavier sections.

The lyrics have gone darker than the band's done before on the first track, "Generic God," with lines barked in outrage like, "Where is your god now? Nowhere, 'cause it's nothing. So bow down!" The breakdown in the song is absurdly well-placed and compelling, with chopped guitar and vocal lines over syncopated drumming with fast footwork. "Driven Into the Ground" follows and vocalist Schii's voice overtakes the track like a sinister wind. The band's first use of blast beats works to make the track hit harder, echoing the mental freak-out of the lyrics.

Three out of the five songs lyrically deal with the concept of being close to death, with struggle being a constant reminder that help is needed. "Blessed Assurance" blatantly asks for divine affirmation in the midst of "struggles with myself - I need to be fulfilled." Behind the haze of a dark clean passage, the drumming takes on smart fills and rolls into even smarter fills utilizing quick 32nd-note kick drum rolls. The guitar riffs are chunky, stocky, and remind of Job For A Cowboy at times.

"Open the Door" and "The Peripheral Sound" are more distinctly hardcore numbers, although the former flirts with death metal. The chorus of "Open the Door" utilizes harmonies in fifths that might sound cool but don't actually convey the positive emotion behind them, noting that "nothing is in my way. Clear is the path that's waiting for me. This is the greatest day. Time to open the door and be." The final track and single, "The Peripheral Sound," is the shining jewel of the album. Surrounded by lush backing synthesizer, the song transitions in flashes much like a daydream as the protagonist explains how he is on the edge of hopelessness.

The arranging abilities of guitarist/backing vocalist DJ are put on display in an extensively layered and aesthetically beautiful part of "The Peripheral Sound" before the 2nd verse and chorus. The band has elevated itself to a new level of concise and elegant writing aside from sinking their teeth into the heavy bits even deeper. The artwork is also quite literally a portrait of home, with the photographer purposely seen in the reflection off a window. With few pretenses, the band has managed to put out a visceral second EP worthy of everyone's attention. A teaser trailer of the album can be found here.

Highs: "The Peripheral Sound" and "Blessed Reassurance."

Lows: Lack of delivery on the chorus of "Open The Door."

Bottom line: A second offering of psychologically intense progressive metal tinged with hardcore.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
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)