Album: Death is Inevitable
We are enamored with death—more specifically, how to stop death. Whether it’s becoming immortalized through heroic actions, acts of terrifying destruction, or the quest for actual immortality, mankind has developed a sick obsession with death and the concept of everlasting life. However, at the end of it all—after countless attempts at pills and potions to expand one’s lifespan—there is one truth: InVoker’s truth—Death is Inevitable. Filled with endless amounts of eviscerating riffs and bone-splintering breakdowns, the debut album from these North Carolinian crushers is a lesson in demolishing deathcore that heavy music enthusiasts around the world will get enthralled with. Somewhere between the riff-driven catchiness and maelstroms of organized—but murderously heavy—mayhem, InVoker may just have found the formula for a truly immortal breed of deathcore.
Instrumentally, InVoker walk a careful line between the bouncy or groove-driven and the brutalizing, insanely aggressive style of deathcore that almost feels like a throwback to the style that defined the genre in the first place. Guitarist David Gantt is the band’s main source of bi-polar variety. Gantt smoothly, yet suddenly shifts between riffing, catchy and metallic segments of thrashy, speedy aggression and low, slow chugging that practically pulls the listener’s head into pieces. “Ahhh!…Real Monsters” is an excellent example of Gantt’s diversity, as the track opens with a low, grimy groove that quickly morphs into a stuttering, skin-shredding breakdown that makes the listener feel as if they’ve been tossed into a woodchipper. Acting opposite Gantt’s galvanizing, schizophrenic fretwork is bassist Chris Herd. While a majority of deathcore bassists seem content to simply chug and plod away, lumbering unheard beneath layers of intense guitar and drumming, Herd…well, he demands to be heard. Take, for example “Temple of Boom” and it’s catchy, bouncy introduction. Herd leads the way, bashing his way through waves of splashy percussion and razor sharp guitar to brutalize the listener’s ear with a constant low, rumbling groove—an aspect of the track that stays strong throughout the entire song, rather than fade into oblivion after the introduction. Percussionist Tilly Huss keeps the balance—a figurative midpoint between the constant tipping and turning happening between Gantt and Herd. Rather than rely on boring blast beats and standard speedy doubles to create a canvas for the fretted fury that defines Death is Inevitable, Huss plays beautifully unique and atypical patterns that keep the listener focusing on the percussion just as much as they focus on the other aspects of InVoker’s instrumentation. Huss is a dynamic powerhouse that is able to cater to any aspect of the band’s varied styles and intensities—whether it’s the punchy, straightforward hate of “Accuser,” or the drawn out, knife-dragging agony of “DTF” or “Slobber Knocker,” Huss is always providing top-of-the-line beats dotted with truly exceptional fills to create an incredible instrumental dynamic.
InVoker’s instrumentation is not the only aspect of the band’s hard-hitting groove-tinted style of deathcore that is the project of a perfunctory balancing act. Death is Inevitable is home to two incredibly talented vocalists—Dustin Mitchell and John Rabb—who hit every style of scream the listener can imagine. For a second, compose a figurative “shopping list” of screams you might want to hear on your dream deathcore album. Sharp shrieks? Look no further than “Death is Inevitable.” Gruff mid-range shouts? I can’t think of a track on the album that doesn’t feature them (instrumental “Invocation” aside). What about low bellows and raspy, throaty whorls? “DTF” and “Harbinger” house them in spades. Death is Inevitable is a source of stylistic diversity and vocal perfection that puts a great majority of contemporary deathcore albums to shame—all thanks to the intense effort and stunning success of Mitchell and Rabb’s all-encompassing vocal onslaught.
Disemboweling heaviness, contagiously catchy grooves, visceral vocals and brutalizing heaviness all come together in perfect amounts to make InVoker’s debut full length album something truly memorable. While it might be a touch shorter than the listener might want, there is still no end to the amount of intense, aggressive fun that Death is Inevitable brings to the table. From the first dissonant chug of “Accuser,” all the way through the rip-roaring whirlwind of “How I Met Your Mother” InVoker bring their A-game—a game that goes into overtime down to the last shrill scream of “Death is Inevitable.” To put it simply, Death is Inevitable is a release that combines bounce-friendly grooves and lobotomizing heaviness in such perfect amounts that the album is akin to an anvil covered in rubber—bouncing up and down on the listener, breaking more bones and discoloring more flesh with every sickening smack.
We spend our days finding ways to try and cheat death of it’s ultimate prize—it’s goal and function—our lives. However, InVoker spit nothing but toxic, lurid truth with Death is Inevitable, giving the listener an experience powerful enough to inspire them to go out and live their life to the fullest—while they still can, that is.
For Fans Of: Despised Icon, Oceano, Isolations, Level the City
By: Connor Welsh