Review Summary: Combating loss with change.
Following the departure of lead vocalist, Ben English, in 2018, Invent Animate seemed to be at a major loss. Without the powerful lows and the harsh contrast of mids from English, the band just wouldn’t be the same, yet the band didn’t lose hope. Following a plethora of auditions and decisions, Invent Animate acquired their new vocalist: Marcus Vik (ex-Aviana). With Greyview
, the band attempts to tackle a nearly impossible challenge: making a worthy comeback with a new frontman.
Perhaps the most notable change, aside from Marcus on the vocals, is the band’s increased affinity for utilizing atmosphere and ambiance to drive a song. Although previously used in subtlety, Greyview
shows the band boldly applying atmosphere, swallowing the record in an aura of serenity and peace. This ambience embodies the essence of the softer aspects of the album in “Fireside” and “Heaven, Alone”, yet amplifying the intensity of aggression in the breakdowns of “Monarch” and “Hollow Light”, while holistically encapsulating the power and emotion of Greyview
Accompanying such enticing atmospheric elements are the usual technical riffs and exceptional instrumentation of Invent Animate. With Trey Celaya and Keaton Goldwire manning the guitars, the riffs of Greyview
remain just as intense, aggressive, and brutal as in the preceding albums. The combination of beautifully crafted clean melodies and leads lingering, immersive chord progressions, and technically composed riffs and breakdowns elicit a grand contrast between the delicate and the destructive. In “Dark” and “Secret Sun,” the ominous, eerie leads enveloping the track augment the ferocity of the chugging breakdowns and tap-filled riffs. Throughout the duration of the album, both guitarists inject the occasional flare of intricately patterned riffs while still maintaining the progression of the album in a controlled manner. The most obvious example of such lies in the lead single, “Cloud Cascade,” with its intense and technical riff, mixing both the low chugs and the dissonant high end notes to create a contrasting riff amidst the ambiance of the record.
Complementing such intensive guitar work lies the impressive performance of Trey Celaya on the drums. This dynamic of Trey manning both the drum and guitar duties elicits a cohesion within the instrumentation that enhances the flow of Greyview
. From the simple metalcore grooves found on tracks like “Eden” and “Hollow Light” to the more intricate patterns of “Secret Sun” and “Cloud Cascade.” However, he also expands further than just the general progressive metalcore stylings, extending the drumming versatility by including blast beats in the intro of “Reflection Room” and the simplified, yet catchy, grooves of “Fireside” in light of a softer track. Furthermore, accompanying the chops laid by Trey, the bass work of Caleb Sherraden provides the extra grit to the riffs and breakdowns of the album. Although usually supporting the seven strings by maintaining the low ends of the aggression, the bass manages to show off some moments of independence in the verses of “Fireside” and adding additional chugs to the numerous breakdowns in Greyview
, further supporting the contrast between the open notes and the melodic and dissonant leads.
Ultimately, however, the crucial point lies in the initial query: does Marcus Vik live up to the expectations? Simply put, he manages to fit the band with their new sound. First and foremost, Marcus is ahead of Ben in the cleans department, managing to create impressive melodies in “Halcyon” and “Secret Sun” while also attempting the powerful vocals in the band’s first “ballad” attempt of “Fireside.” However, these cleans are sometimes used in an over-the-top manner at times as in tracks like “Cloud Cascade,” placing too much emphasis on the vocals rather than the song as a unit. Looking at the opposite end of the spectrum, Marcus Vik is a powerhouse with his harsh vocals. His versatility and range is exceptional, tackling the driving mids of “Hollow Light” while simultaneously performing that brutal lows of “Eden.” Although Ben English had a much more abrasive and aggressive approach in his vocals, Marcus Vik manages to find his place as a newfound member within the band, showing off his vocal versatility and ability to maintain emotion in his performance throughout the duration of the entire record.
, Invent Animate solidifies their return with a fresh breath of revitalization in their music as they learn to adapt to a new frontman. It may not match up with the impressiveness or chemistry found on their previous efforts Everchanger
, but it still sets the benchmark for the future of the band as they experiment more with what works for them as a unit. Now to return to the question at hand: did Invent Animate tackle the nearly impossible challenge of returning from the loss of a vocalist? Well, yes they did.