Invasion - The Master Alchemist
How many new records give you goosebumps when you put them on? I’m struggling to think of another album that had such a physical effect on me to the level that the The Master Alchemist does. I had pre-conceived expectations from hearing the singles and EPs but those expectations were catapulted into a lake of fire and brimstone by the actual quality of this record.
In case you don’t know much about them Invasion are a three-piece heavy metal band from London. They are Marek Steven (guitar), Zel Kaute (drums) and Chantal Brown (vocals). They are the soundtrack to armies of the apocalypse laying waste to humanity and they are hell’s house band, but most importantly they are utterly amazing.
This captures the evil sounds of early Black Sabbath but played with the ferocity of a thrash band. The soul heavy vocals and a large dose of psychedelic rock blends into such an uncanny concoction that once this elixir has touched your lips you are under its spell for eternity. Guitars dive like dragons from every direction as they phase between speakers. Cymbals crash like lighting bolts illuminating the sky for the arrival of the high priestess - and her voice alone can crush mountains and boil the ocean.
If this were theatre, it would be presented with mesmerising stagecraft: the curtains open with ‘Follow The Smoke’ and at just one minute long it calls out like the Horn of Geryon opening the doorway to demonic realms. An epic jounrey awaits. So many albums now are just a collection of tracks, few work as a cohesive body of work like this. It’s an experience to entwine your soul; a tale of wizards, war and chaos set against a backdrop of impeccable musicianship.
‘Cursed Treasure’ opens with Zel’s drums marching to a doom-heavy tempo. Before you have time to even sharpen your battle-axe, it shifts into a psych-rock blur as Marek’s guitar leaps through the scales, veering from left to right and twisting into a driving thrash oblivion. ‘Moongazer’ showcases just how great a vocalist Chan is – her range is astounding, she can deliver with boundless power and unbelievable finesse in equal measure. Instrumental finale ‘Chaos & The Ancient Night’ is the most atmospheric track on the album, capturing the Sabbath sound and moulding it into a world of malice and malevolence before your very eyes.
Being fortunate enough to interview them in August I don’t think they actually realise how good they are. This is a landmark British heavy metal album. Ten years from now you’ll remember where you were the first time you heard The Master Alchemist. It’s raw and raucous, recorded almost live with no computers or overdubs. It comfortably takes its place alongside the great metal albums of the seventies. It is nothing short of a masterpiece.