Bestial Invasion – Contra Omnes Review

In many cases, the general dearth of great thrash being made by any band that wasn’t formed in the 80s means even the most decent of bands get a moderate recommendation. Of course, the vast majority of these bands are typically rehashes of the past — extremely well played and produced, and often joined by a good live reputation — but creative and memorable these bands are not.

Release date: December 22, 2017.
Label: Shellfire Attack.
Ukraine’s Bestial Invasion is not one of these merely decent bands, but a well-honed and fiery group teeming with charisma, creativity, technical prowess, and reckless abandon. And what really makes sophomore album Contra Omnes so wickedly great is that thrash is only the foundation upon which the band builds their wild compositions. They add in death metal aggression and blasting, stretches of intertwined neoclassical lines, a lot of actual singing, and just enough weirdness to add flavor. If you’re rightfully suspicious that all this sounds like gimmicky kitchen-sinking, well, know that the album has nary an awkward transition, out-of-place riff, or miscalculated drum pattern. Everything is meticulously crafted, and everything just destroys.

The more aggressive, purely thrash elements of the album have a lot in common with old Forbidden or Sabbat (UK); tracks like opener “Inception” or “Zodiac: Crime World Mystery” have that violent-but-catchy element to them, before getting extra tech-thrash à la Watchtower or spasti-shreddy like Atheist. Vocalist Vakhtang Zadiev even shares traits with Russ Anderson (the snide attitude and “tumbling” vibe in “N.E.V.E.R.M.O.R.E.”) and Martin Walkyier (the sense that his spit is coming through the speakers) when he doesn’t sound almost exactly like a latter-era Bruce Dickinson. Even the bass goes from standard background music to a super bubbly prog style.

 

The point is that everyone in this damn band has a very diverse set of skills, and they put them on display in constantly changing ways, all to the benefit of the album. Soaring vocals do battle with blasts and a persistent kick drum from Ivan Semenchuck in “Repudiating the Power” before a huge dose of neoclassical noodling takes the baton from the vocals, with both passages exuding both tension and excitement. “Prisoner of Miserable Fate” transitions perfectly from moody, stretched vocal lines into a solo section, then into aggressive thrashing, then back to the moody vocals. And in terms of pure, wonderful weirdness, a tiny keyboard part in “Caligula: Salacious Age” is among the album’s most memorable moments; the kind of flourish that seems obvious when hearing it, but 99 out of 100 bands would never think to include.

Bestial Invasion is not one of those 99 merely decent thrash acts, but the truly special kind that is fearlessly creative and massively talented. When taken individually, very few of the album’s elements are particularly unique, but it is through the band’s immense personality that they are able to form this old clay into a fresh and exciting new artwork. Contra Omnes is one of the best thrash records released in recent memory.

And yes, “recent memory” because it did come out last December, but the label only promoted it recently. Who cares; great music has no date. Give this band money and get this in your earballs.

Posted by Zach Duvall

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; Obnoxious overuser of baseball metaphors.

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