George Kollias Invictus 01If you know jack shit about extreme metal drumming, you already have a good idea of what this album is going to sound like. If you don’t know jack shit about drumming, it’s time to learn. George Kollias has since 2005 been the drummer for a certain long-running technical death metal band named after a river in Africa who, for purposes of my own entertainment, will not be referred to only through parenthetical epithets for the entirety of this review. If you’re still confused, take a goddamn geography class.

While Invictus doesn’t open strong, there are some pretty enjoyable tracks scattered throughout its somewhat bloated corpus. “Shall Rise/Shall be Dead” would make a respectable [Napoleon sailed up this river] song and “Aeons of Burning Galaxies,” which has to be around five years old by now, showcases Kollias’ drumming at his best. There are a couple of departures from the tried-and-true chromatic riffing and incessant blastbeats in the later half of the album, but nothing out of the ordinary for an over-the-top death metal record.

The downside to Invictus, and I hate to say this, is that it was very, very obviously written by a drummer. It’s obvious because the riffs are not that great; they’re not bad, and would be serviceable in a less technical [very large river in Africa that’s not the Congo] song, but none of them really stick around. This keeps the album fairly homogeneous, although not offensively so, and serves to really highlight the guest solos and, of course Kollias’ drumming. Which brings us to the other problem: it’s just not 2005 anymore. George Kollias is an awesome drummer and a great musician overall, but holy shit is there nothing new here. His guitar work isn’t that irritating, since it’s not his primary instrument, but the drumming overall just isn’t creative. I’d love to see Kollias let loose and show us what else he can do. The sad truth is that we’ve come to expect 260+ bpm blasts from the guy and that’s all he delivers here; I’d much rather listen to isolated drum tracks from Flo Mounier, Billy Rymer, or Jamie St. Merat. Kollias’s shtick is speed and in the modern extreme metal world that’s just not good enough to impress anymore.

George Kollias Invictus 02Naturally, the drums are the most prominent part of the mix here, and again, naturally, the bass guitar seems to have not been invited to any recording sessions. A true [band whose best song is “Lashed to the Slave Stick”] hallmark. You kind of wonder if the guy has ever listened to any music that he didn’t in some way create.

If it sounds like [the life-giving waters that gave rise to civilization itself], looks like [what starts as a small stream near Lake Victoria], and smells like [the home of the world’s second largest Crocodylus species]… well, you get the point.In the end, Invictus turns out to be just what you’d expect; a [Iteru] album with less interesting guitar parts. Fortunately, it’s not nearly as shitty and self-plagiarizing as the last album from the Colonel Karl & Co., so our worst fears have not been realized. Kollias can’t really be blamed for the uninteresting writing though, as his stated purpose in creating Invictus was appeasing fans who asked him to write a solo album based on how much they like his work in [the basis of a shitty pun about the state of being in contradiction] and on his drumming DVDs. He did that, and it turned out pretty ok, so good job I guess. Don’t do it again.

Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 192 kbps mp3
Label: Season of Mist
Release Dates: EU: 2015.05.18 | NA: 05.19.2015

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  • Scorpion

    It has to be the Amazon. The Nile’s in south america, right?

  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    I was quite impressed by Anup Sastry’s solo outings. Check out his EPs. A drummer who knows how music works, and also how to overplay a song without overplaying the song. Question my contradiction, I believe it is the only way to describe his music. Tbh, this album sounds like a collection of demo tracks. It sounds incomplete.

    Great review though, 11/10

    • Here’s Johnny

      Your contradiction makes no sense. Kolias doesn’t know how music works? He’s just a jazz drummer and one of the best in metal ever. That is all!

  • sssgadget

    This album was bland. GK is technically a good drummer but he just lacks the style that a drummer needs. No fills no groove makes this one boring and is okay for listening in the car.

    • Here’s Johnny


  • Lasse Momme


    Kronos was referencing Nile, people.

    • Jean-Luc Ricard

      SHIT I thought it was [now defunct Spanish metal band/river in North Africa] Draa.

  • El Lado Oscuro

    don’t agree, the record seems much better to me. Very strong. A 4, no less

  • JL

    I like the album and the atmosphere. The drumming is incredible. Sort of a no win for the guy – he does this and it’s nothing new or exciting, but if he had “let loose” and shown his skills people would be complaining that it’s just showing off. I think it’s a good mix of him demonstrating his technical prowess and some catchy, moody death metal. Just me .02

  • Krzystov

    You’re waay off on this one and you completely missed how refined Kollias’s composition skills are. His drumming isn’t creative? There’s nothing new here? This reminds me of the article I just read over at metal sucks concerning songwriting vs. technicality. Invictus is a perfect example of a metal musician who can actually write catchy songs. When did that stop to matter in metal? Did you even listen to this?

  • Excentric_1307

    Kinda boring, I agree.

  • ZEbyiUWvbe

    That “river in Africa” joke was not funny. Sorry.

    • Everybody’s a critic these days, including us!

  • Alex Pertsovitis

    Should be a 3.5 at least.

    • Dan

      Agreed completely. Doesn’t break new ground, but it’s still a killer death metal record that deserves better than a 2.5

  • Hróðvitnir

    Yeah, I agree GK delivered what was expected of him, nothing more; pretty much an album tailored for his fans. Of course, he’s highly skilled. But we could have guessed every song he jotted down here. To me, it sounds more like a masterclass than a personal album. It’s a bit dry I’d say. But, that being said, I never was a fan of [Hâpy] in the first place.

    Great review Kronos!

  • Doomdeathrosh

    Yeah GK is speed out-and-out……but boy does this miss the trick!

  • Sam

    Don’t get this review at all. Reminds me a lot of Behemoth’s latest. Although not as good, still incredible. 4/5.

  • Worldeater

    Maybe he should take guitar lessons with Hannes Grossmann …

  • Here’s Johnny

    Guitar is not his prime instrument and its still better than a lot of death metal out there. Kolias is so metal his day job and solo record are both death metal. Drumming ‘isn’t very creative’ on this, wtf! This album is a clear 3 or 3.5/5.

    Nile have never released a shitty record, ever! The last was stymied by too clean a production but the quality was high as per. The whole album is worth it for “Supreme Humanism of Megalomania” alone.

    Oh and you are all idiots for not one of you(at least) liking the last Enslaved.

    • Krzystov

      Some one on this site just gave the new Armored Saint a higher rating than was given this album. I know we all have separate opinions, but wow. Armored Saint?!?!?!? Do we really need rehashed riffs from 1989?

      • It sounds like Nile so it MUST be cooler than Armored Saint, right? That’s silly talk, brother.

        • Krzystov

          I never said it sounded like Nile. Putting words in my mouth, that’s silly talk brother. I guess we’ll just agree to disagree on this one. I’ve been a long-time reader and this is just the first time I vehemently disagreed with a review here. It seemed Kronos dislike this album because he wanted Kollias to write anything but a death metal album. Well, it’s a death metal album, and he should have reviewed it for what it was, not what he wanted it to be. Maybe not the best death metal album, but in my humble opinion it crushes.

      • Here’s Johnny

        woah i like Armored Saint though…

        Nile and Enslaved have never released shitty records. Most metal bands have good to great consistency/quality control actually. Have COF, Dimmu/Behemoth/Amon Amarth etc ever released something totally shitty? They release from average to good to great records, never trash though.

        Niles last album still has supreme musicianship and well it’s just Nile.

        Illud Divinum Insanus, St Anger, Lulu now that is what you call shitty records.

  • Dan

    I’m agreeing with a lot of the comments I’m seeing here. Don’t agree with the review. Maybe it’s not wholly original but damn if this isn’t a really solid death metal record with good compositions!

  • vivian

    I have to disagree with the review even if I completely respect the point of view of the one who wrote it. Man, there were so many solid songs such as Buried under the flames, Aeons of burning galaxies, invictus, shall rise/shall be dead….and the lyrics are related between them so… whatever, music is a matter of personal tastes. Cheers and enjoy

  • Rotten

    Listening to this now and I give it 3-3.5 out of 5. Some nice groovy and catchy song writing. He doesn’t hold back and I totally dig it. Kudos to George.

  • Smart US

    yes this is how you do average death metal album – still enjoyable but far from Death, Gorguts Nile, Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death… but this is what the fans asked for – straight line drumming

  • Virgil Luisenbarn

    Bullshit, it deserves a 4, at least