Invictus
The Catacombs of Fear

Germany’s FDA Records has stepped out of their comfort zone for a couple of their early 2020 releases. One is weird goth doom (Hraun), another, Stråle , is a Finnish melodic hard rock band , and the other this one, originates from Japan, the first release on the label from there after a pretty consistently German/European roster (with some North and South American bands scattered in there). So how does the band’s debut album fare?

Not too bad. Not great by any stretch, but certainly a solid, high energy, throw back, no frills death metal album that shows that these guys/kids did a ton of sitting around listening to all the classic mainly American 90s death  and thrash metal releases that mattered. Hell Awaits, Seven Churches, Altars of Madness, Deicide, Leprosy, The Ten Commandments, Onwards to Golgotha etc.

The album does not start that well, with a pretty clunky , forgetful opener in “Lord of the Pit”, but it improves after that. “Bizarre Dreams” and “Infernal Covenant” (with its surprising melodic solo)  shows the band’s early Morbid Angel and thrashier leanings and “Diabolic Intent” has a almost melodic death metal gallop and riff that’s pretty enjoyable. “Sinkhole of Ghosts” has a clear Slayer influence  then “Spawn the Cycle of Putrefaction” return to a more discordant Incantation-y vibe, and “Necrocrypt” has another cool lead solo.

In fact, as the album goes on, I’m more inclined to say these guys are far more of a death/thrash band than a pure death metal band. Other than the more death metal vocals, cover and themes, the song structures are much more death/thrash and thrash based. Just listen to the closing title track (which even has a little atmospheric bridge).  But still a solid little release from FDA Records, exposing the world to a promising little Japanese band.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 14th, 2020

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