Ok. First things, first. I absolutely LOVE progressive metalcore. It is without a doubt my most favorite of the core subgenres. I’m a sucker for it. Clearly, considering how much I continue to prattle on about it, but my point is this review is going to be slightly biased from jump street due to the fact that it is in fact a review for a progressive metalcore album. Invent Animate’s latest offering, Greyview. Back in 2018 the original vocalist of the group, Ben English, parted ways with the band (amicably) leaving many fans wondering what in the actual fuck was going to be next for the group. The departure of English was quite a shocker, and even though Invent Animate did announce that they would continue on and would be auditioning new vocalists, quite a few of us wondered if those large shoes could be filled just right. After what seemed like freakin’ centuries the band finally announced the new singer, alongside the release of their new single “Cloud Cascade”. Marcus Vik (originally of Aviana fame) would be stepping into the duties of vocalist, and even with just one new song it was clear that the dude more than had the chops for the job (We’ll get a little more into that later on in this review). It took a long four years to finally receive Greyview (for just reasons of course), but I can assure you…even from a nonbiased point of view…it was all well worth the wait. This album has perhaps some of the most inventive and technical music Invent Animate has ever created. Some of the most poetic and philosophically appealing lyrics ever written (showcasing some extreme writing talents from the new man in the band, Marcus Vik). Basically, what I’m getting at is that this is truly some of the greatest music that this band has ever put out into the world. Clocking in at just under fifty minutes, you will ne’er feel short changed, and even with an interlude (which is beautifully, strategically placed B-T-W) it still has TWELVE damn songs! With what feels like living in a world where only ten song albums that usually top out at roughly 30-35 minutes, this is a more than welcome change. Greyview is heavy AF…both literally and metaphorically speaking, and yet at so many times it is harmoniously ethereal. Songs like “Monarch” and “Brightwing” will smash you in your face, leaving you with the most awesome of musical bloody noses, and yet tracks like “Fireside” and “Secret Sun” will put your mind in a state of hypnosis, as if staring at the stars left you frozen in place. I can’t tell you how much I go crazy for albums that leave me blown away and how much they can me rock out and leave me thinking at the same time.
Genre: Progressive Metalcore
Label: Tragic Hero Records
Release: March 6th, 2020
FLOW / LONGEVITY / ORIGINALITY
Remember just a moment ago when I told you that this album had heavy hitters, along song ambient gems? ME TOO! Well, the song order and ebb and flow of the album as a whole could not have worked any better. I’m well aware that any given band would put a ton of thought into the placement of each and every track, but it truly feels as if the boyos in Invent Animate took those four years to decide the order of songs one through thirteen (I mean that in a good way!). One moment your heart is pumping blood and adrenaline so goddamn fast throughout your entire body that you start to shake, and the next you feel as if you could simply close your eyes while swaying side to side and just soaking in the world. Placing the interlude “Heaven, Alone” basically smack dab in the middle was a stroke of genius (yes, I am aware many bands do this), if only because it gives you a soft as velvet and atmospheric moment of peace just before slamming down with what is more than likely the heaviest track on the album, “Monarch”, then after that it soothingly eases into “Fireside” which is flush with ambient tones and elements and a sing-a-long chorus to boot. BUT THIS IS PERFECT! It’s these ups and downs that keep everything so damn interesting, instead of all the songs having the same overall feel and tone and becoming a jumbled mess of monotony and redundancy.
So, I received this album a little while ago, and I gotta tell ya…I haven’t put it down since. And I have received other future reviews. I’ll get to them. But in due time. Greyview has some of the most epic stay power I have ever witnessed. One other thing I must repeat is that this album has honestly BLOWN me AWAY!! It exceeded any and all expectations. Before even knowing whom, the new vocalist would be, I’m not so sure any of us had much of an idea what to expect. And for myself I can honestly say that every single song is beyond repeatable. Yea, I know I basically already summed that up in the initial sentence of this paragraph, but it’s worth being even clearer and to the point. I can totally see myself ten years from now, and even with another possible four to five releases from Invent Animate, still picking this bad boy up and throwing it on for a spin or two. Soooooooo YUP! This album has the ability to be the epitome of longevity. The epitome of STAY POWER.
I know that there is a massive slew of progressive metalcore bands out there, but to me somehow it still feels like the true quality ones are few and far between. Some bands add a keyboardist to the lineup and claim absolute creativity and progressiveness, when all they actually did was add a damn keyboardist. Invent Animate LIVE progressive metalcore. There is nothing simple about almost anything this band does. The layers upon layers of tones, notes, ingenuity, and imagination all combine to make something that is everything outside of ‘the norm’. I’m not trying to say that the group is the only one ding what they’re doing, but the absolute beauty of it all is that when listening to Greyview I don’t find myself thinking of any other band. Making those dreadful ‘Oh, they sound so much like ______’ comparisons. It is fully and completely Invent Animate and this is undoubtedly Greyview. Soooooooo YUP! I’d say this album is pretty damn original.
INVENT ANIMATE – Cloud Cascade https://www.inventanimate.com/ Music Produced by Randy Leboeuf Music Video Directed by Aaron Marsh New Invent Animate Merch: h…
VOCALS / INSTRUMENTATION
See? I told you I’d be getting back to Marcus Vik’s role as the new singer for the band. HE’S FREAKIN’ GREAT! He does admittedly have SOME similarities to Ben English at times, but the best part of that is it helps to give the fans that have been there since day one a sense of comfort and nostalgia, instead of being so drastically baffled by something that sounds TOO different and makes zero sense being in a band such as this. But do NOT mistake what I just said for me saying I think that he’s a carbon copy of English because Vik has a sound all his own. It’s more in the tactics in way the screams are delivered than anything else where the real comparisons between the two singers could ever be. Hot DAMN Marcus Vik has some fucking range! Guttural lows, vicious and raspy highs, and a cleaning voice that wondrously melds with the instrumentals so perfectly. It’s in songs like “Hollow Light” where the multifaceted talents of Vik can be heard entirely. The lows, highs, and the clean voice that you can’t help but sing along with. He did have some mighty shoes to fill indeed, but it seems to me as if they’re fitting perfectly.
What can you say about the instrumentation on Greyview? Not much…aside from it’s unbelievably amazing. So technical and intricate, yet the moments of simplicity seem just as complex. The drumming in the opening moments of “Reflection Room” are so ballistically fast paced I thought for a moment Trey Celaya tibia AND fibula might snap! The flow of the guitars and bass in “Eden” feel like waves smashing through and over rocks. One thing I have always loved about Invent Animate is their ability to add their ambient and atmospheric touches so fluidly in almost every single song. Whether used sparingly such as on songs like “Halcyon” and “Dark” or songs like “Fireside” or “Nova” where those qualities have been ramped up a bit, these little (or larger) touches never feel strange or out of place. I have said it in past reviews, but I’m a giant sucker for instrumentals that speak a story themselves, even without the words to explain what it all means. And each song on Greyview has that stellar ability.
COMPOSITION / PRODUCTION
Oh me, oh my. The uncanny writing abilities that Invent Animate has had and will always have both instrumentally and lyrically will also stun and shock even the most avid of listeners. It’s almost confusing how a little ‘ol core band can be so insanely inventive and what they manifest. There was a day where I actually wasn’t even listening to the album at the time, but just simply reading the lyrics. They were unquestionably unreal. Once more I was blown away. The metaphorical and philosophical richness was so powerful, and each line jam packed with raw, oozing emotion. Each and every note on every single damn song was intensely planned I can only imagine, to ad nauseum, but in the end it all payed off in the most intensely beautiful of ways. When you listen to Greyview whether it be as individual songs or as the whole album experience, it is impossible to not notice that everything about it was painstakingly thought out and planned to perfection.
The backbone of any and all music is the production. Have shit production value and sadly the whole experience will seem just that…shit. But have crisp, clean, and pure production and it brings everything to life. Thankfully it’s the latter that happened with Greyview. It’s unbelievable how you can actually hear each seam in the metaphorical music tapestry that is Greyview. Each and every savory sound and note is completely distinguishable and if one wanted to take the time, you can sit beside your speaker and pick out every single sound. Now THAT’S some quality producing!
Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.
Greyview is phenomenal. From beginning to end my attention was laser focused. All senses honed in. I couldn’t pull myself away from the listening euphoria even if I wanted to. It’s swiftly become my favorite from them yet. I must admit I was worried when English left, as I felt (and still feel) he was one of the more unique vocalists in the game. And for the longest time none of us knew who would be filling in that role. Once it was announced that it was Marcus Vik though, any worries or concerns I had were quickly erased. He nailed it in Aviana, so it was quite clear he’d do the exact same in Invent Animate. In fact, I feel as if he stepped up his game to much a grander scale than even before. Greyview feels both like the Invent Animate we’ve always known and loved and yet an evolved form of at the very same time. There is no lack of crazy creativeness throughout the entire album, and the fact that it has blown me away so greatly and the fact that I still can’t get over that says a lot. I know many fans out there will feel exactly the same. This is the beginning of a whole new world for the group and we’re all so dang lucky to be a long for the ride.