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“Invaders” Review

Published in Blog, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

Kemado Records’s Invaders is an explosive 18-track release which comes as a culmination of just as many stoner-rock bands as it does different hard rock sounds. With a variety of previously unreleased tracks from bands like The Sword, Comets on Fire and Big Business combined with hard rock mainstays such as Pelican and High on Fire, Invaders comes as one severe punch to the eardrums after another.

When confronted with such a solid line-up of bands, all seemingly with similar sounds, it can be easy to lose sight of each individual’s contribution. Big Business delivers the track “As the Day Was Dawning” as one which would generally be considered straight up stoner-rock. But as the album begins to develop it becomes easy to hear just how different these bands are. Sometimes it may be a subtle difference and sometimes it may be along the lines of Black Mountain’s “Behind The Fall,” which introduces an organ, sax and hollow post punk vocals. Sure, The Sword contributes the powerful “Under The Boroughs,” but it is quickly counterbalanced by Dungen’s “Christopher;” a crazy, tripped out song with crunching guitars that serve as a base for an over the top organ and flute silhouette.

There are a variety of moments, hidden and blatant, which truly gives Invaders its character. On one hand we have Darren Daulton’s favorite band, Warhammer 48k, who have a direct link to an astral projection site on their MySpace page. And on the other, we have a track contributed from grunge-darling J. Mascis’ side project, Witch, entitled “Rip Van Winkle.” Continuing with the theme, Witchcraft offers a blazing live track “Queen of Bees” that serves as one of the ultimate riff songs on the compilation. However, the vocals sound like something along the lines of The Chipmunks singing “The Immigrant Song;” which isn’t inherently bad and may be just crazy enough to work. There’s also a sense of humor to some of the lyrics on the album, such as Torche’s “Mentor,” “This little piggy was electrocution…” It’s ok, we’re laughing with you (I just hope you’re laughing too).

Recent hard rock mainstays Pelican give the album its quietest track, “Ran Amber,” which ultimately ends up being the best. Its near 9 minutes of drawn out un-fury give an example of how it’s possible hard rock even if it’s not cranked to 11. The always amazing Wolfmother adds “Love Train” and the instrumental “The Loge” comes as a track from The Fucking Champs, who never cease to amaze. When looking at the scene in general, the compilation gives a fairly broad view of some of the good, the bad and the unnecessary. Though it’s generally hard to overlook the bad, Invaders offers up a lot of the good.

[This post was first published by Culture Bully.]