Artist: Invert the Idols
Album: Condemnation – EP
You have led a life of deception and deceit—years upon years of lying, misleading and manipulating the innocent into following your will. You’ve committed more crimes than there are fitting punishments for them, and you are about to be put on trial for them, with Invert the Idols playing judge, jury and executioner. A combination of ferocious deathcore and bone-breaking slamming death metal, coated in a thick layer of sludge and finished off with gritty, raw production, Condemnation is a crushing exercise in eviscerating, energetic heaviness. With slams that slide into skin-peeling blast beats and decay into decimating breakdowns, Invert the Idols are a lethal blend of extreme metallic styles that leave the listener completely annihilated: innocent or otherwise.
Condemnation is constructed on a crushing canvas of lacerating blast beats, pulverizing kick drums and low, trudging bass. Percussionist Allen Hall lays down a salvo of sinister drumming that ranges from lightning fast blast beats (seen kicking off “Necrology”) to technically savvy, flashy fill work (exemplified at the introduction to “Liar/Deciever”). “Necrology” in particular serves as an exceptional example of Hall’s ability to work with bassist Sara Stull to shear the listener’s flesh cleanly from their bones. Stull’s deep, pulsing bass adds extra depth and dissonance to Hall’s quick kick drum and add intensity by contrasting his sharp, cracking snare. Stull’s grooves, as well as Hall’s drumming are a firm foundation for Invert the Idols’ instrumental efforts, as they serve as a diverse, engaging but far from show-stealing base from which the remainder of the band can blossom from—namely, the riffs and chugs of guitarists James Gillham and Robert Weaver. Gillham and Weaver work together to drown the listener in dissonant, demonic fretwork—whether it’s the bouncy, catchy groove in “An End to Everything” or the insanely low, slow and murderous nature of the climactic breakdown in “Liar/Deceiver.” These two terrifying titans of hateful heaviness are masters at delivering slam-tinted, chug-friendly, headbang-inducing insanity, and Condemnation is sixteen minutes of sinfully sinister proof.
Admittedly, the instrumentation that fuels Invert the Idols’ latest release is a relatively standard combination of slamming death metal and filthy deathcore, with very little variety or ingenuity. Ultimately leaving the vocals plenty of room to sprawl out and impress the listener—which frontman John Neely does with pleasure and ease. Adept at everything from gurgling, low, Bree-filled slam-death vocal styles and shrill, high screeches, Neely’s voice is as sharp and piercing as a nine-inch nail being driven straight through the listener’s eardrum. From the first bitter howls in “Liar/Deceiver” to the enthralling diversity within “Necrology,” and all the way to the last shriek in “An End to Everything,” Neely’s vocal work fills a majority of the empty space left by the sometimes-flat instrumentation in Condemnation.Neely roams hither and to on every track, giving the listener a refreshing, ruthless source of much-needed variety, and adding a new dimension to Invert the Idols’ dynamic.
Where Invert the Idols’ instrumentation might leave the listener wanting, and the intentionally gritty production might offend the ears of some elitist audiophiles, Condemnation remains a fun and entertaining EP that still has several points of merit. The instrumentation at the introduction of “Necrology” catches the listener’s ear like a fishhook, reeling them in for the remainder of the track with ease. Likewise, each track is home to at least one crushing, climactic slam or breakdown where Neely works in perfect synchrony with Invert the Idols’ instrumental backbone to snap the listener in two. At other times, the quintet are as catchy as the clap, with the opening grooves in both “Devour” and “An End to Everything” exemplifying this. Ultimately, however, even the most fun parts of Condemnation fail to mask parts of the release that seem monotonous and forgettable, dwelling on stagnant, recycled blast beats and half-chugged descending riffs that practically scream “filler” to link together the release’s truly memorable moments.
While this Georgian quintet might not become idols of the heavy music scene with this release, they certainly prove they have what it takes to be a fun, furious band with a dedication to crippling heaviness. Invert the Idols’ latest EP is raw, gritty and devastating—Condemning the listener to death via snapped neck.
For Fans Of: Acranius, Chamber of Malice, Ingested, Acrania
By: Connor Welsh