Halls Of Extinction
Review by Greg on July 10, 2023.
We've reached half of 2023, and I'm yet to stumble upon something able to rival Invicta's Triumph And Torment as my personal AOTY. I'll keep on waiting hopeful, but I don't think I'll tear my hair out if the situation won't change. The album was a huge discovery, nailing exactly the kind of sound I've been into in recent times. It took me some time to recall that it was actually the band's sophomore, so what's better than finding some more goodness with their debut Halls Of Extinction?
Looking back, the seeds of greatness were indeed already there. Unsurprisingly, like every time you make your way backwards through a discography, there isn't the same refinement and maturity you've been accustomed to, and you'll maybe find some missteps due to youth and lack of experience. That's Halls of Extinction at first glance. But the meat and potatoes of the album are made with the same, delicious recipe found on its sequel. Granted, for the standards of the group, opener 'Terminal Brutality' is akin to a grindcore track from the height of its three and a half minutes, and indeed acts as the short outburst of riff-heavy, blast-filled rage before the album passes through its actual best songs. 'Sacred Scourge' in particular sounds like it singlehandedly spawned the sophomore's 'The Apprentice of Death', with its effortless tempo changes, complete with fast/slow double chorus and simply jawdropping solos. 'Halls of Extinction' and 'Eye of Destruction' share a close second place, with the former falling short of being a total masterpiece for its slightly overlong coda, and both basically wiping out the majority of the scene. Axemen Kyle Edissi and Jonah Kay just have this particular knack for dropping those majestic, triumphant guitar lines below what's essentially a monotone voice and making the whole thing memorable.
That being said, this isn't a particularly easy album either, and the occasional misses might be longer than usual to get through. Especially the pair of 'Dark Side' and the vitriolic 'Infinite Aggression' goes on for almost a quarter-hour, but doesn't appear nearly as inspired as their peers, although, as you should guess by now, you can always count on some awesome shredding to cover it up at least partially (like 'None but Ash', in minor part, also does). Oh, but you shouldn't worry too much about not getting enough lead guitars, as the instrumental closer 'The Rapture' offers more than 9 minutes of them, summoning talents from Nile, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Stratovarius, Allegaeon, and Cathartic Demise alongside Invicta's very own duo. Are you salivating yet? You should. It's also an all-around great song, offering a killer acceleration around the 4:00 mark and a somewhat atmospheric section from 6:20 onwards, although self-indulgence is obviously the name of the game.
Now, think what you want about the huge personality the four guys exhibited on the sophomore, and double it down since they all were four years younger here (Edissi was not even 22). Halls of Extinction, and specifically songs like the title-track, 'Eye of Destruction' or 'Sacred Scourge', nicely prove that they didn't pull Triumph and Torment out of nowhere.
A new question emerges now: where the Hell did this come from then?
Rating: 8.4 out of 10659