When an album comes to me, the first thing that I tend to see is the artwork. Before actually jumping in to listen to this record, I had very high expectations from it only because the album artwork is one of the most intriguing ones I’ve ever seen: simple but promising, with the fiery colours catching the eye and preparing the listener to what is about to come – a fiery production. Having done some research as to what the actual meaning of the title is, Invicta means “invincible”. Combined with the futuristic images in the album’s booklet, the album gave me the impression that what was about to come was an ode to stubbornness, a story about to unfold balancing between fantasy and reality. The concept of this album made me think it was a hymn to all of those moments where life beats one down, but they have to stand back up, a wounded warrior who does not yet surrender.
First song, “Quetzlcoatl”, is the overture to the album, setting the tone and the scene of the whole record. The album sets off with a combination of progressive and heavy metal elements, as if Dream Theatre met Iron Maiden. Strong melodies and lots of harmonies, drums that fluctuate between moments of rage and moments of “silence”, where synth and guitar solos fill in the scene. The song also starts with amazing, yet aggressive vocals, which set the scene for what is to follow. The next song, “For Our Lives” is subtler that its predecessor. Starts with very nice and melodic vocals that build up gradually and music that is gentle and calm. This song could be something like “the calm before the storm”, as the next track “The Lion Fantastic”, takes the album to a whole other level with more synths and commanding high-pitched vocals, more aggressive and fast-paced rhythm. The music twists between melodies, obscure synths, light guitars and fast-paced solos, weaving a tapestry of magic.
The next songs follow the same pattern. In “Ultimatum”, “Line in the Sand”, “Trecena” and “Pariah” the clean and smooth production is evident in the album, having a simplistic but yet varied rhythm and melody. Each instrument is heard vividly in the songs and the voice does not cover but contemplates each part. What I found particularly interesting at this point was the fact that, even though some of the songs were long (up to 11 minutes), I was not bored at all nor did I think that there was repetition in any of them. There is a wide range of different sounds merged in a spectrum of styles, and the parts do not resemble each other. The skill and musicianship is impressive, with stiff riffage replaced by light guitar, interplayed with soft drum and bass lines.
Out of all the songs, the one that stuck out in my opinion was “The Devil’s Coin”. It is composed in such a way, that it brings out a variety of different musical “emotions”, if that could even be said, swaying back and forth between aggression and lightness, amazing and deeply satisfying guitar solos and synths. The whole album reminds me a lot of a film score in an epic movie, those epic battle hymns and laments that we would listen in a film, which would bring out emphasis and a wide range of images of battle, victory and different emotions. And the whole record comes to crescendo in this moment, to this triumphant song.
The album closes down with a smoother “Victorious”, taking down the tone and showing more of the bands experimental talent. All in all, I found it a very satisfying album, something that I would listen to again again. Very interesting, very experimental, very different and very unique. And, oh God, don’t I love those solos! I would definitely recommend it to anyone into the prog genre and to anyone who would like to listen to something different. And I am sure no-one would be disappointed!