War Machines

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I’ll get right to it- Indiana’s Invasion have been around a while, plying their war themed death metal since 1999. They started as a more Swedish styled band and really got my attention with 2002s Bezerk Artillery Barrage, one of my early reviews back in the digital metal.com days. At the time, a US band using the Stockholm sound was virtually unheard of. They followed it up with 2010 Orchestrated Kill Maneuver, another slab of Swedish styled chainsaws. But then the band went quiet for a while. 8 years later we have Destroyers of Mankind and the band has now leaning on their American heritage for a far more USDM styled sound. I caught up with Peter Clemens Invasion founder and a busy man involved with many other projects.

So here we are with your fourth album in 18 years. First you had “Conquered” in 1999, then there was an 8 year gap between 2002 “Berserk Artillery Barrage” and 2010 “Orchestrated Kill Maneuver” and a 7 year wait between that and the new album- what’s the reason for the large gap in releases?

Peter:  That’s a good question! When we first recorded “Conquered” in 1998/99 the band was on a roll.  I was still involved with Sea of Tranquillity & Skullview, but we had some downtime between bands so the drummer of SOT (Dave Cady) and I started to work on INVASION.  We’ve been messing with the idea since the early 90s and it seemed like the perfect time to finish some of the songs and get the album released.  We signed with Killjoy’s “Baphomet” label which in turn was picked up Hammerheart/The Plague and it did pretty well overseas. We followed by returning to the studio and recording “Berserk Artillery Barrage” in 2001/02 for Forever Underground Records and started to do shows, but the drummer (Dave Cady) quit mid-stream and INVASION was put on hiatus as Skullview and a new project I formed called Corporation SS were in the process of writing.  I had enough songs written for the 3rd INVASION cd – “Orchestrated Kill Maneuver” from 2006/2007 and by chance I actually ran into my old drummer from the previous 2 recordings. After deciding to hit the studio we begin working on the cd and get things moving again. Unfortunately, the recording started in 2008 and we had A TON OF PROBLEMS which didn’t get resolved until 2010. It was then we presented the finished product to Rotting Corpse Records who released that platter of death. Again, we took about 2 years off while we did our other projects (I formed Yellowtooth & Nocturnal Torment with the same drummer) but when time came to start recording the 4th INVASION, Dave quit music again & it took a very long time to recruit someone of his caliber.  Essentially that is how we acquired Dan Klein and finally finished “Destroyer of Mankind.”

Has your involvement in numerous those other projects like Yellowtooth, Nocturnal Torment, Sea of Tranqullity and Skullview hindered what you want to do in Invasion or do you feel you can balance them all?

Peter: I think it’s a pretty good balance, but I think the main problem was that our drummer had a few issues and both of us were the best of friends at one time.  You need to understand that Dave was the drummer for Sea of Tranquillity, Invasion & Nocturnal Torment so we would see each other every week for years. Maybe that was too much time spent invested?  I’m honestly not sure.  Whatever the case the material aspect of it was never a problem, but we just seemed to run into a myriad of problems along the way and Invasion was never able to get things moving.  Not to blame Dave or anyone else involved with the bands, but life happens.

Is Invasion your primary project?

Peter: Basically it’s a 50/50 split with Yellowtooth at this point.  Will it change in the coming years?  Yes, it always does. In 2008/2009 I was jamming with Skullview, Nocturnal Torment, Yellowtooth and Invasion and we managed to keep things moving and separated, which was imperative, but difficult.  We were jamming in my basement & literally had room for 2 drum sets and we’d move equipment out of the way to rehearse with the other bands. Was it hectic? Yes, very much so, but we had a lot of fun doing it.

What made you want to revisit Invasion 7 years after the last album? Was Invasion on hiatus and is this a reunion or just taking a break?

Peter:  Basically, the drummer and I needed a break and he quit playing music for a few years.  We’ve been jamming together since 1991/92 and I’ve known him for 6/7 years before that, so maybe we just got burnt out on jamming with each other, but there were no drummers in this area that were of the same caliber as Dave & that makes things difficult when you want to hammer out songs with extreme intensity.  I think that’s why our paths kept crossing over the years. I jammed with other drummers but those evolved into different projects like Corporation SS and Southern Witches Brew.

What is the current Invasion lineup and where did you get them?

Peter: I’ve known our guitarist Rafael for 25 years as we jammed in Sea of Tranquillity together, plus he recorded on the 2nd album from INVASION“Berserk Artillery Barrage” back in 2000/01. John Hehman was a recent transplant to the NW Indiana-area and had built a studio in my old town, and when some friends recorded their demo at his place I stopped in and met up. Solid guitar player and very much involved with death/thrash metal, he was open to jamming with us. The final step was replacing Dave Cady who again picked up his gear and quit. After 18 months of searching for a drummer in the area I was introduced to Dan Klein out of Chicago who also had a recording studio.  I called him up and asked him if he’d be interested in recording with possible show arrangements which he agreed to, hence the new line up was formed.  The material was already written and it was just a matter of lining up the pieces and getting things moving.

Your first three album had a much heavier Swedish death metal influence , especially the guitar tone on both. The new one seems to have reigned back on that tone in favor of a more USDM sound- any particular reason for the change?

Peter: I think that was a combination of factors.  My writing style had changed a bit and when John and I started to record the guitar tracks we found the Swedeath guitar sound was actually hiding too many elements in the song structure, so John suggested we try a different approach which worked well.  I am a HUGE fan of the Swedish sound, but it took too much away on the recording so we opted for a more USDM similar to Deicide, Malevolent Creation or Cannibal Corpse tone.

War is obviously the central theme for Invasion, with world war II appearing to be the favorite conflict . Are there any other conflict or wars you see Invasion delving into?

Peter: I was looking at delving into the Civil War at one point, plus WW One as I’ve got a ton of literature on both, but for some reason WW2 found its way back as the focal point.  I think I was watching the History Channel and they had FDR giving his speech regarding the attack on Pearl Harbor, and my mind just began churning.  His speech was so powerful I initially thought I’d open the new recordings with it, but it changed a bit during the mixing stage of the new cd and we made that the 2nd song.

Many other bands have WWII as a primary influence such as Hail of Bullets, and of course Bolt Thrower. Are there any other war themed bands you admire or respect?

Peter: I enjoy any band that takes into consideration war into a lyrical approach.  Iron Maiden opened up the flood gates with “The Trooper” & “Aces High”! The only ones I can think of right now is MardukPanzer Divsion Marduk, War – Total War and Panzerchrist. Obviously Bolt Thrower and Hail of Bullets are in there as well. I dig reading their lyrics and seeing their perspective of it as they are not US based bands.

There are some well used samples on the album ,such as Saving Private Ryan one that starts “Dying on the Beaches of Normandy”. I’ve always wondered how does one go about picking and sample (sample come first or after song is written?) and getting permission to use a sample from a movie?

Peter: Haha no permission granted! I just “borrowed” those !  But for each individual song you need to look at what your lyrical approach is and then try and find samples that give the listener a general idea as to your perspective.

I assume you are a war buff and do deep research when writing songs?

Peter: To a point I may review something from my book collection, but for the most part it’s based on memory.  When I was in middle school all I did was sit in the library and read books about the Civil War, World War 1 and World War 2.  In fact it got so bad that I use to pile all the reading material into my book bag and walk home to read it.  Now I use www.abebooks.com and Ebay to locate items of interest, plus several of my friends pass suggestions that I peruse.

Can you talk a little about two songs- “Playing the Devil’s Piano” and “The Shores of Betio Island”? Those seem less obvious about what they are about compared to the likes of :’The Divine Wind” or “Iron Bottom Sound”.

Peter: “Play the Devil’s Piano” is slang and basically refers to firing a particular type of machine gun the German’s used during the war.  “Shores of Betio Island” is about the first US landing on a Japanese held atoll named Tarawa.  The US Navy was under the impression that a quick bombardment from their ships would insure the landing craft would have a relatively easy approach to the beach, but they were wrong in many respects. The landing craft were torn to shreds upon arrival and American casualty rate soared.  I think the total number of US dead and injured from that landing was roughly 3100 men, about 1/4 of all US participants who landed on the island.  Just google Tarawa Island and you’ll find a ton of literature about it.

Any chance of Invasion writing about other themes or is that what all your other projects are for?

Peter: Perhaps the next thing we do is delve into the Korean or Vietnam war as that’s been my focal point for the last few years, and not much has been written about the Korean “conflict” as it’s been called, but we still engaged in conflict for several years over real estate that was deemed “necessary” for democracy.
What is your general view of war as a whole considering the US is so active in the middle east and other regions possibly being hot spots soon?

Peter: I think it’s a necessary evil to an extent, but it depends greatly on the situation.  I don’t condone war & I think if possible other solutions or alternatives could be found, but mankind itself just has a tendency to strike first and ask questions later. One of the biggest problems is the area in conflict has something the US wants, be it oil or natural resources, and certain people’s greed seems to always lend a hand towards our involvement. As the middle east, it’s always been a volatile area & nothing has changed, and I don’t see anything in the foreseeable future that would be positive.

Indiana is hardly a hotbed on international metal re known. What is it like being a metal head in such a ……../conservative state?

Peter: You’d be surprised haha! We have our own “little” scene here in Northwest Indiana.  We are wedged between Chicago & Detroit but Indiana itself has some very good bands, they just happen to be spread out down to our state’s capital a few hours away and towards the Fort Wayne area.  Just off the top of my head we’ve got Hellgrind, Pitchfork, Stone Magnum, Yellowtooth, Skullview, Invasion, Necrodemon, Beresith, Legion, Handsome Prick, Psychomancer, Impurium, Corporation SS,  Nocturnal Torment, Prime Specimen... and those are just off the top of my head.  I think maybe in the future I should release something on my label, Orchestrated Misery Recordings, and push all the local folks.

Can you give me a status update on all your pother projects- I have especially enjoyed Yellowtooth and Nocturnal Torment, having reviewed both for this very site.

Peter:  Yellowtooth is currently working on our 3rd release right now and we are hoping to hit the studio towards August/September of this year. Nocturnal Torment is still on hiatus as our drummer (former Invasion drummer) fled the scene and we haven’t done much except talk smack at parties about finding a new drummer and moving forward. We did have additional material written for the 2nd release but again that’s in limbo right now, plus I have a very small label called Orchestrated Misery Recordings that I’ve put on the side for the time being.  It’s been tough since I only press cds & sales have plummeted to almost nothing.  It seems the day of the collector is slowly being faded out & digital sales are the only way to go.  Bastards haha!

Any parting words?

Peter:  Thank you Sir! Thank you for the support of INVASION, YELLOWTOOTH & the Metal Scene in general.  The new INVASION cd is available at Abyss Recordings in Indy and if interested just follow the link listed here:

http://www.officialabyssrecords.com/

Or for digital links follow this:  http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/invasion5

If you’d like to contact me just shoot me at email here: alliedforces87@csinet.net

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