REVIEW: Invocation – Invocation EP (Special Edition EP/2013)


Artist: Invocation

Album: Invocation EP (Special Edition)


Imagine looking into another dimension–through a portal or wormhole, perhaps. Being able to observe the most subtle differences–things like the varying shades of red on the cardinals at the zoo, or the different names of the streets where you grew up–alongside the most drastic differences. You know, the differences between civilizations forming and decaying, wars which ravaged previously untouched empires. It’s not a terribly foreign concept: the butterfly effect. In a different universe, one butterfly flaps it’s wings and, in that continuum of time and space, thousands of miles away, an entire population simply…vanishes. These subtle differences are often the source of great things: for example, the UK’s finest in groove-laden metalcore, Invocation, and their re-release of their debut self-titled EP. This special edition features two new tracks and a variety of subtle changes in the otherwise impeccable song structure and instrumental dynamic the band has previously slaved over to change near-perfection into just that–perfection.

Invocation is a relatively short collection of tracks which use towering instrumentals to tell a prolific and immersive story. Pounding drums stack atop layers of rumbling, gyrating bass to create a strong, steel backbone of blood-pumping sound. In this lattice, perfectly arranged wonderfully written segments of shredding, lacerating riffs fill in the blanks. One of the two newcomers to Invocation’s arsenal, “The Veil,” demonstrates this perfectly. The song gradually builds on itself, growing taller and taller until it begins to crowd the clouds. Where the band’s previous efforts were also towering, they lacked the same level of instrumental arrangement and organization which exists on this deluxe edition of the release. Whether this is due to new songs adding more dimension to the release, or the re-recordings themselves are anyone’s guess. One thing is certain: “The Veil” is certainly not the only example of instrumental supremacy Invocation have to offer the listener. Each track on the EP features a stunning combination of lacerating, devastating fretwork and leveling, steamrolling drumming which positively floor the listener. The instrumentation is largely the reason Invocation is home to such an immersive, galactic style of groove.

Invocation’s vocal component, however, is far from half-hearted. The EP is home to an entire arsenal of devastating lows, marvelous mid-range yells and the occasional high, ear-splitting shriek. The vocal component in “Our Time” is second to none as far as spacey, dynamic vocals which range from a blistering, fast-paced scream to a slow, sturdy and heavy bellow at the drop of a hat. The vocals do a tremendous job in setting the mood of the given track. While the instrumentation might determine the pace and the structure, it’s up to the vocals to confer emotion and feeling to the listener. It’s the way the shouts fill in spacey, atmospheric portions of the band’s prodigal dynamic or the bellows compliment the rumbling, low-end of the bass and the sturdy, rhythmic attack of the bass drum.

Together, the vocals and the instruments craft a stunning, star-studded, spacey dynamic which is both ethereal and back-breaking at the same time. Where the instruments provide flow where they need to, and structure where it’s required, the vocals reach out to the listener. Take “Surface Detail,” for instance, and imagine it like this: the instruments are a sturdy crew of workers. The drums and bass build a foundation and dig a basement. The guitars tower and build the metallic framework. The splashy cymbals fill in the walls and shingle the roof. Together, the instruments build a house. However, the vocal component which reaches out and pulls in the listener makes it a home. The yells paint the walls, and the shrieks hang pictures. Together, the listener has not just a framework for shelter, but a place to truly feel at home and immersed in the band’s eclectic atmosphere. Ranging from heavy, gyrating and back-busting grooves to spacey, stellar shredding, there are a variety of elements to keep the listener enthralled.

Peering through the veils of time and space, it’s easy to get caught up in nuances–after all, what fun would these advances in technology be if we couldn’t get lost in them? That’s part of the appeal of Invocation’s latest EP. One part super-structured, hypertechnical metallic onslaught, and one part groovy, distracting, elusive metalcore, there is something for listeners of all musical proclivities to find themselves entranced in. Just don’t get too lost–you might not be able to find your way home.



For Fans Of: TesseracT, Volumes, Entities, Lifeforms

By: Connor Welsh