Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Review: Distorthead - Invasive Species

Beyond receiving their album, my first encounter with Distorthead was seeing a picture of their vocalist laying naked on a couch, cupping his junk; I wasn't sure how to feel at that moment, I still don't, and I'm not sure if I'll ever be the same. But in the spirit of pressing forward, the review of their debut full-length album, Invasive Species, has come to fruition. Individually, the band are not new to the Montreal underground, with each member coming from another act in the area, but Distorthead itself formed in 2012.

Genre: Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore
Label: Self-released/independent
Release Date: October 18th, 2014
  1. Intro
  2. Invasive Species
  3. Ode to the Sun (A Pagan Christmas Carol)
  4. Jack is Always Smiling
  5. After Patriotic March
  6. Erupting Skies
  7. Skyzo
  8. Cognitive Dissonance
  9. Distorted Reality
Total Playtime: 38 minutes, 16 seconds




Rating: 8.5/10





Beyond receiving their album, my first encounter with Distorthead was seeing a picture of their vocalist laying naked on a couch, cupping his junk; I wasn't sure how to feel at that moment, I still don't, and I'm not sure if I'll ever be the same. But in the spirit of pressing forward, the review of their debut full-length album, Invasive Species, has come to fruition. Individually, the band are not new to the Montreal underground, with each member coming from another act in the area, but Distorthead itself formed in 2012.

Oddly enough, the overwhelming revival of both old school black and death metal has slowly been leading the malice towards itself and away from deathcore. Deathcore is also a genre that has been put through the refinery, and has found a spurt of musical growth over the last couple of years. Bands have been veering away from the now dead-end breakdowns, instead embracing more technically innovative structures. Such is the case with Distorthead, a band who incorporate a variety of genres into their sound, and even though they classify themselves as metalcore and melodic death metal, those elements are not what are present in this release.

Each of the nine tracks have interesting and unique compositions, a few of them include a kill-switch type effect where the instruments pause abruptly for a few brief measures. This effective, ear catching technique is most distinguished within "Ode to the Sun" and "Invasive Species". Other songs make use of tightly issued aggressive complexity, but in a humble way that's not overdone. While the material creates a spacious atmosphere with the main instruments alone, "After Patriotic March" opens with a synthesized introduction that incorporates a clean piano and foreboding choirs.


Invasive Species has something that will appeal to everyone at some point during its urbane length. The vocals cover a variety of genres, from the obligatory shrill deathcore highs to hardcore shouts and death metal bellows; there's even a bit of clean singing added into the mix, and this aspect is all there is to any resemblance of metalcore or melodic death metal. "Erupting Skies" is one of the more prominent tracks of the content, with damn powerful death metal lows and a clearly defined vibrating bass line. "Skyzo" is another noteworthy tune that is the harshest overall in rhythm and style, and is the self-appointed aggressive climax of the album.

Though "Erupting Skies" isn't the only area that the bass tends to make itself known, the element provides twanging grooves and fun drops throughout the entirety of the material; "Ode to the Sun" should be pointed out here as another highly bass driven track. There's a strongly abrasive rhythm guitar that has a distinctive digitalized distortion, which gives the content its unique tone overall. The leads are drizzled in an even distribution under the vocal and rhythm guitar tracks, rarely rising to the front of the mix and ocassionally finding themselves pushed to the right speaker.

The drums are just as flavorful, making use of an assortment of beats that are usually synced up with the structure of the rhythm guitar. Seldomly do the drums rest on any given beat for long, they constantly evolve to the ever changing song compositions and tempo variances. There are some blast beats and fast double bass segments, but these standards are used extremely sparingly and are heard only a couple of times during the album, and only when it's fitting; generally to push the aggressive mood of the album up a couple of notches.

Overall, an incredibly unique effort in deathcore that pushes genre standards. There's a little bit of everything throughout Invasive Species, and that alone will make the album appeal to a large group of metal enthusiasts. The mixture of deathcore, death metal, hardcore and minor symphonics work exceedingly well together, and never does the material feel overburdened despite the complexity that's present. This is one of the few must hear deathcore albums, and one of the best of the year. A sure contender for best debut of 2014.

Physical Copy Provided by: Silver Wings Studios

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