Released: 2017, Abyss Records
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
Anyone mourning the demise of Bolt Thrower should find some solace in Indiana's Invasion. The band's fourth album, and first in six years, is loaded with the sort of chug-and-surge death metal and war-is- hell thematics that made Bolt Thrower so great in their prime.
But while Invasion's of tank-column tempos, martial riffing, churning bottom end and flame-throwing vocals do have a distinctly familiar ring, Destroyer of Mankind is by no means a mere copy. Indeed far from it.
For one thing, Destroyer is utterly relentless, moving a near break-neck speed for much of its 46-minute run time. Thus what it might lack in epic grandeur or nuance, it makes up for in white-knuckle velocity. On another, where Bolt Thrower often settled into a regimented grind mode, there's more of a black metal/thrash flavor here with the frantic guitaring and occasional twin solo breaks cutting through the death metal core.
Bassist/vocalist Peter “Phlegm” Clemens assembled a fresh lineup for the album – with new drummer Dan Klein and lead guitarist John Hehman being joined by one-time guitarist Ralph Hernandez – and these guys already are super tight. Destroyer is a veritable onslaught from “I Am The Enemy” to “Shores Of Betio Island,” powered by Klein's strafing drums. But I guess if you're going to revel in the horror of World War II, that's how it should be.
Invasion's campaign here bounces back and forth from the Pacific theater, with “Approaching Cauldron Of Horror” in Pearl Harbor and the “Shores Of Betio Island,” to the Atlantic, with “Dying On The Beaches Of Normandy” and “Summon The Wolfpack,” all told in Clemens' feral, matter-of-fact growl. Clamorous, “Saving Private Ryan”-like sound effects help put you right where the action is, even if they sometimes kill the album's momentum with their omnipresence.
Indeed, there is a doggedness here in plot, approach and execution that may be more of an issue to some listeners than the “Bolt Thrower-ness” of the overall sound. Without much in the way of variation, aside from some crafty solos or the initially brooding “Iron Bottom Sound,” the songs begin to run together. So while Destroyer does paint a rather vivid, brutal picture, a wider palette wouldn't have hurt.