Invasion - Destroyer of MankindWar… war certainly changes. Whether it was the Crusader’s use of the crossbow against their enemies’ inferior longbows, the subversive tactics of the Cold War, the intellectual dispute between the thought of Martin Luther and Francisco de Vitoria on the justness of combat (the latter was right, by the way), or the modern West taking Plato’s Republic one step further and treating everyone as the great philosopher did Greeks in our international war laws. The war machine built by Bolt Thrower changes as well, but not in watershed ways. One particular cog, America’s Invasion, is churning reliably and aggressively along on their fourth record Destroyer of Mankind.

On display here are the most common types of war-themed death metal: those of Bolt Thrower and Amon Amarth. In a similar vein to Predatoria’s excellent EP from last year, Invasion takes the chugging and churning of later Bolt Thrower (Mercenary onwards) and throws in the melodic tremolo riffing that characterizes later Amon Amarth (With Oden on Our Side onwards). Destroyer of Mankind also seems to reference Hail of Bullets and their take on Bolt Thrower, along with a tinge of hyper-modern Swe-death akin to later Demonical. Basically, Invasion is playing modern death metal with an eye to the old school, making relatively accessible songs with big chug riffs and some hooks, while not going off the rails with pretensions.

Through a healthy mixture of modern Bolt Thrower filtered through Demonical’s speed and riff-craft along with a solo section ripped straight from Amon Amarth’s unreleased highlight reel, “A Satisfying Death” shows Invasion in good form. It’s neither predictable nor shocking, ending up an engaging performance. “Play the Devil’s Piano” is the most concise blast of aggression on the record, reminding of Demonical’s “The Order” with a blitzkrieg of minor scales replacing the big Swedish melo-death chorus and a burlier midsection that aims for kinetic bludgeoning instead of melodic intrigue. Like a well-orchestrated attack, it’s quick, effective, and deadly.

Invasion 2017

Where Invasion errs is scoring less convincing victories in wars of attrition instead of decisive tactical ones. “Iron Bottom Sound” employs the Hail of Bullets tactic of playing a chunky riff and then doubling its speed as was done in “Guadalcanal,” which works when the song is under three and a half minutes. Invasion’s version is nearly six minutes long, and a brief but convincing guitar solo doesn’t have as much of an impact as it would’ve if the song was more concise. “The Divine Wind” has a devastating midsection, but rides a few minor variations on one unremarkable theme for the rest of its duration, making the whole song sound like an excuse to throw one legitimately solid idea at the listener. A final slightly irritating note is the prevalence of samples; literally, every one of the nine tracks starts with one, and they’re anywhere from fifteen to over thirty seconds long. It saps momentum, and only four of them are worthwhile and add something to Destroyer of Mankind.

Invasion’s sound is appropriately chunky, with every instrument sounding good and heavy. Drums are fairly loud yet unobtrusive, providing a consistent barrage that lets everything around them be heard, including a nice, thick bass. There’s nothing outright wrong or offensive on Destroyer of Mankind, but it too often relegates itself to war-themed background noise instead of grabbing the listener by the throat like Predatoria did on their last EP. While the record overall sounds longer than its forty-seven-minute runtime, quality tracks like “Shores of Betio Island” seem to fly by almost in spite of that. And yet, on the surface, the tracks aren’t all too different from each other and follow similar patterns. Invasion knows how to write quality death metal, but they sometimes miss the mark by a frustratingly small margin and make something that can’t drags itself out of the swamp of mediocrity. While not a poor record by any means, Destroyer of Mankind is a touch less than a good one but, for its faults, is enjoyable in its own right.


Rating: 2.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Abyss Records
Websites: facebook.com/invasionusa
Releases Worldwide: February 17th, 2017

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  • Iain Gleasure

    Reminds me of Bolt Thrower…

  • War. War is monotonous.

    • Dead1

      Depends on the war

  • defjam

    Never has the crossbow bettered the longbow on a field of battle. Unless you are not talking about the English longbow.

    • [not a Dr]

      Probably not the English longbow, since many Crusaders were from the British Isles and were supposed to be fighting in Ultra Mar or on their way there.
      Also, the English longbow would only be superior in the hands of someone who actually trained with it. The crossbow is easier to use without training.

      • defjam

        Agreed. It was impossible to be effective with a longbow unless you trained from an early age. But as was proven time and again during the hundred years war, archers made the difference on the battlefield (Crecy, Poitiers, Agincourt etc.)

        • [not a Dr]

          The way I understood it, at Agincourt, the longbow-men were not the decisive factor as much as the French underestimating them and taking victory for granted. Confident as they were in their superior numbers and unaccustomed to seeing longbows used on the battlefield, the French knights spent the previous evening celebrating their victory to come and dividing among themselves the spoils of a battle yet to be fought (who would capture who, and who could ask for the highest ransom) instead of planning the deployment of their own troops.
          Superior range may not have won against a well coordinated attack.

    • PanzerFistDominatrix

      Yes it has, repeatedly. Talking Western medieval warfare, even so much so that by mid 12th century most European armies almost exclusively fielded crossbows as ranged weaponry. This for the very reason mentioned by ‘not a Dr.’ and that you agree to – training time. The crossbow was even banned by Pope Urban II in 1096 because it was so easy to use with lethal effect. If any halfwit peasant could pick up a crossbow, practice for a bit, and then blow a knight off his horse… very upsetting to the social hierarchy and order of society of the times.

      That being said, the sentence about crusader crossbows v. longbows make no sense. Whoever the crusaders fought, Arabs or Ottoman Turks, their archers didn’t use longbows but composite bows likely developed from central/east Asian bows.

      • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

        This is correct, mistyped by yours truly. Crossbows had the advantage of penetrating the weaker Arab armour too, while their bows couldn’t do much to the heavier Crusader armour. Breeding stronger/heavier war horses definitely helped the Europeans.

        • [not a Dr]

          Else, the armor would have had to ride on its own horse.

      • defjam

        Despite not being a historian I can mention quite a few occasions where the archers-longbowmen were the decisive factor to the outcome of a battle. Myth has it that that archers were so feared and hated by their opponents that when captured had the index and middle fingers of their drawing hand cut off, hence the infamous British V gesture. Plus they fought for King and country which made them more loyal and they were held in high regard as a force by their superiors despite their peasant origins.

        Crossbowmen on the other hand were mostly mercenaries, held in low esteem by squires, knights etc. They were usually deployed as skirmishers and drawn away when the real fighting began because a bolt could only be shot straight whereas an arrow could be shot above a mass of fighting men. The longbow was superior in terms of rate of fire, accuracy and greater momentum upon impact due to an arrow being heavier than a bolt. Its drawbacks were the need for long training of the archer and a more complicated design of an arrow vs a bolt.

      • [not a Dr]

        And it made for a less awesome tale of chivalry. Sir Knight sallying forth and slaying a hundred enemies sounds a lot better (omitting the fact that he trained daily with his arms and armor while the foes he vanquished were unarmored peasant levies with pointy sticks).

    • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

      Mistyped with longbows. Not changing it though, because that would make the cool history thread this turned into make no sense.

  • Dead1

    I really like the embedded track.
    Doesn’t sound anything like Amon Amarth so I don’t get the reference. This is more Florida meets Stockholm by way of Bolt Thrower circa 1992 than dull monotonous melodic death.

  • Westpaceagle

    Anybody else slightly excited to hear the upcoming Sinister album?

    • PanzerFistDominatrix

      I thought about Sinister lately watching one of the last episodes of Orange is the new black – the ultra butch turbo dyke had a line about crossing the Styx.
      Anyway, should I be excited? I haven’t listened to the last ten albums or so…