Album: Resist – EP
The political climate in 2017 is one that provokes countless questions. How did a dunce like “The Donald” get into presidency? How many terrorist attacks on foreign, friendly or domestic soil will have to take place before we truly make a change? How can we even trust our military enough to make those changes when we can’t even trust the majority of our own police force?
Most important: when will enough be enough? When will we, as citizens, take it upon ourselves to separate church and state? When will being disgruntled give way to full blown resistance?
These questions—and the State of the Union in the past twelve (or was it twenty four? Thirty six?) months give rise to the latest, and immensely politically charged release by North Carolinian groove-influenced deathcore outfit InVoker. Aptly titled Resist, this twenty minute amalgamation of terrifying aggression is as bouncy as it is brutal—and more diverse than anything the band has released to date. A group of individuals never satisfied with complacency and always pushing their own musical envelope, InVoker’s 2017 EP may very well be the one redeeming factor of this year’s political turmoil. Resist, while it may not make America great again, certainly stands to make heavy music great.
InVoker’s musical proclivities have always been difficult to collect into a single genre. While their early work is hefty, bouncy and chunky metalcore with prominent death metal influence, Resist’s three-track predecessor saw the group working with a sharper and more sinister nu-metallic inspiration. Once more, Resist sees the band expanding—retaining the ruthlessness of Death is Inevitable and the eerie edge of D/Evolve, Resist is darker and more focused than either previous release. The drumming is crisp and intense—yet moments like the closing groove of “Pre-Meditated” and the first half of “The Swine” serve as proof that the band’s percussion is still more than capable of creating a riveting and relentless bounce. This is also true of the opening portion of “Kharon,” which sees bassist Zak Tippet working intimately with the quick, punchy precision of the percussion to build a brisk-yet-beefy low end that brings more meat than a slaughterhouse directly into the listener’s ears. This trend continues—through the catchy and crushing “Walls,” throughout the absurdly aggressive “The Swine,” which holds down the entire release with the unmovable weight of a leaden anchor. Finally, guitarist and songwriter David Gantt (whose name you’ll also recognize from downtempo deathcore act Filth and pissed-off traditional deathcore outfit Impale the Betrayer) brings the great majority of the musical diversity to Resist—with subtlety kicking off “Divisions” hot off the heels of the horrendously aggressive ending of “Kharon,” all the while adding sharp riffs, sinister leads and sludgy breakdowns to songs like “Walls” and the introductory (but immense) track, “Pre-Mediated.” Gantt works tirelessly to give every song on the short-but-sweet Resist a unique feel—from the melodic chorus to “Kharon,” or the haunting interlude to “Divisions,” or the no-holds barred intensity of “Resist,” “Pre-Meditated” or “The Swine.” While a mere 19 minutes in length, Gantt and the rest of InVoker ensure that there is something for fans of any style of heavy music on Resist.
InVoker continue their legacy of lethally talented and overwhelmingly diverse vocal work from the throats of frontmen Dustin Mitchell and Zared Hardin. Mitchell and Harden work together like peanut butter and jelly—if the PB&J in question was spiked with arsenic, cyanide and a bit of civil discontent. The duo bring an intense atmosphere of ultra-aggressive vocal diversity and religiously or politically-fueled lyricism to Resist—which is given even more diversity in “Kharon” and “Divisions” both. The former of the two features Derril King of Texan progressive act The Ansible to bring a haunting, cleanly sung bridge to the track—while “Divisions” sees some of InVoker’s own adding an eerie, atmospheric interlude into the track. Even more, the closing portion of “Pre-Meditated” sees Mitchell adding a quickly spat series of bars, while “Kharon” even contains a short, corny, but sweet “bllllllat” for all the trapaholics with a jones for heaviness. When I say Resist is InVoker’s most diverse effort to date, I didn’t strictly mean musically—as the band’s vocal diversity here is light years beyond that of D/Evolve.
InVoker take strife, war, discontent, aggression and use it to create a masterful release built on intensity and power with an oppressively heavy demeanor. Resist is diverse, devastating and…well, everything in between, at the risk of exploiting a tired cliché. With Greg Hinck/Chop Harder Studio’s work improving with this effort just as much as InVoker’s dynamic did, the pair (the band and the producer) create a devilishly delightful sound and style that sees InVoker crafting their most well-rounded and addictive effort yet—although don’t get too used to it, because who knows what else Gantt and the gang have in store for the next album.
For Fans Of: Filth, Rex, Bodysnatcher, Earth Groans
By: Connor Welsh