Magoth – Invictus Review

I fucked up1 when I dropped the ball on Magoth‘s Zeitgeist : Dystopia a couple of years ago. Released on my beloved Ferocious Records,2 it was a great slab of black/death fusion. It, along with a lot of shit, got by me that year. Thankfully, all the other writers have me around to do write-ups of actual good music. At first, this review was a TYMHM piece. But, “thanks” to Covid, Magoth‘s November 2020 release is now a February 2021 release. Which, in my opinion, is even better. It’s now a chance for Invictus to have a proper release and a proper review. This is fitting, being that this German quartet, who bleeds Naglfar and Watain, might have released their best album to date.

First off, you’re gonna have to crank this up to hear it. Like Rimfrost‘s Expedition: Darkness, Ferocious continues to foster bands that prefer dynamic releases. Coming in at a fantastic DR9, Invictus displays its raw qualities in a pleasing light. Songs like the back-to-back “Possessed by Anxiety”3 and “Ikaros” would be a wash of noise if it weren’t for the record’s dynamics. Not to mention that “Possessed by Anxiety” makes my skin crawl and my heart race. Between the pace and the nails-on-chalkboard dissonance, I almost have a panic attack with each listen. And, because the album isn’t overly compressed, the dissonance is shrieking without it being painfully ear-piercing. While “Ikaros” takes its roots from the melodics of a song like Gorgoroth‘s “Rebirth.” Its combination of powerful emotion and overlapping instrumentation makes it both ugly and beautiful at the same time.

One of my favorite elements of Invictus is the bludgeoning drum work. While I won’t say songs like “Ascension” and “Entering the Cavern of Grief” are standard fare, they definitely have more life because of the drums. Pushed further to the front than typical black metal records, the drums relentlessly bash on your brains. And, it works whether the song is melodic or crushing. Like “Ikaros,” “Ascension” is one of melodic persuasion—the drums melding with the guitars to maintain the dark atmosphere. “Entering the Cavern of Grief”4 is faster and much heavier—the drums doing more than enough to compliment your descent to hell.

The two favorites of mine, though, are “Invictus” and “The False King.” The former is a Watainee in training, using high-pitched pluckings with surgical precision. Appearing as though it would be another nightmare like “Possessed by Anxiety,” it veers off at the last second—traveling down a road to depression and solitude. “The False King,” on the other hand, is a black-metal beast. Perhaps the most headbangable of the lot, it shamelessly leads you through a black mire riddled with death and decay. Both are well-rounded and I’ve returned to them for months now.

I’m glad I’ve finally had the chance to make up for missing the band’s 2018 release. Magoth is an underrated creature and, in time, Invictus might be my favorite of theirs.5 From beginning to end, Invictus is a filler-less black metal assault wrapped in death, depression, and despair—no one emotion overpowering the other. Invictus ceases to be one-dimensional and spreads moods out across its forty-one-minute surface. The result is a rollercoaster of emotions that don’t end even after the final bell chime of “Resurrection of a Deceived God.”


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 9 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Ferocious Records
Websites: magoth.bandcamp.com | magothofficial.com | facebook.com/magothblackmetal
Releases Worldwide: February 12th, 2021

Show 5 footnotes

  1. I should probably start all my reviews this way.
  2. The label that brought my first 4.5/5.0.
  3. A 2020 theme song, amirite?
  4. I’m going to retitle this as “Entering the Cavern of Grier“.
  5. I really love their debut, Anti Terrestrial Black Metal.
« »