Released: October 21, 2022
Perhaps the term solo project isn’t the correct way to describe what Invictus is, as it features more than just Iacono. Kataklysm and Ex Deo frontman Maurizio Iacono has surrounded himself with talent that includes Chris Clancy (Mutiny Within), Jeramie Kling (Venom Inc.) and J-F Dagenais (Kataklysm, Ex Deo) fleshing out the roster. Call it what you will – Invictus mean business.
As is to be expected, the comparisons to Kataklysm are very strong. Given that half of the members of Invictus are also founding members of Kataklysm, there was always going to be similarities – but Invictus also offers Iacono to explore elements that he hasn’t been able to do with either of Kataklysm or Ex Deo.
Certainly, any place you find Iacono, it is a safe bet to assume that Dagenais isn’t far away. Given the dynamics between the two, who would blame them for continuously wanting to work together.
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When I first heard that Iacono was again concentrating on a solo project, I wondered to myself if we might see the man returning to the four-string upon which he began his charge with the mighty Kataklysm. Seemingly, that isn’t the case here. The idea of a solo project isn’t anything new for Iacono, whom told me two decades ago that he was working on a project that was at time known as L.O.S.T – Living On Sympathy And Trust, and although that project never saw the light of day, it was just a matter of time before something similar would emerge.
The duality between the harsh and guttural vocals of Iacono and the cleanly sung passages of Clancy create some rather interesting moments. Fact is, the vocals are what helps Invictus stand out from the crowd. Iacono’s microphone bits are what fans of Kataklysm and Ex Deo have come to expect – little surprises here. However, the addition of Clancy brings a whole new element to the fold. The back and fourth between styles really creates a ying and yang effect. Sure – it has been done before, yet this feels fresh on some level.
Of course, with Dagenais at the helm – there is always going to be similarities to Kataklysm, yet the music that Invictus create on Unstoppable is more akin to Soilwork or latter day In Flames. Sure, the song structure has Dagenais’ trademark riffing and song structure all over it, but these eleven tracks are unlike anything you’d expect to find on a Kataklysm recording. Yes, there is a strong Roman foundation, as is the case with Ex Deo, but knowing Iacono for so long, we really shouldn’t expect any less. The man loves his history and his roots.
The are a lot of strong grooves in the string sections. Some great riffing and head-nodding, neck wrecking passages. Great tempo changes; basically all those niche elements that we’ve come to expect from Dagenais. While Iacono beasts on American Outcast, Dagenais is at his best on trucks such Darkest Of Enemies, Bleed Me Out or Weaponized. Truth told, there is a whole lot to like about Unstoppable. It may be a debut, but given the musicians within, there’s no surprise that this record absolutely shreds.
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As the album title would suggest, Iacono and company are unstoppable. From the opening moments of You Will Know Who I Am to the closing seconds of Keeping The Wolves At Bay – Unstoppable provides beautifully. Iacono knows how to rile up a crowd from the stage – and he knows how to pattern a vocal line and chorus to get his audience involved too. I can already picture the response these songs are going to get when played live once fans have had the chance to listen and learn this material.
It is also an intricate collection that further reveals its depth with each listen. There’s constantly new nuances that were missed the previous listening that surface. And that, in my opinion, is a sign of great composition. Unstoppable is a beastly record that deserves to be heard, played loud, and worshipped. Building on decades worth of work with Kataklysm – Iacono once again has a phenomenal record on his hands. Well done.
Pre-orders for the debut Invictus album, Unstoppable, are currently available here.
For Fans Of: Kataklysm, Ex Deo, Mutiny Within
01. You Will Know Who I Am
03. Bleed Me Out
05. Get Up
08. Ghost Of My Father
09. Darkest Of Enemies
10. American Outcast
11. Keeping The Wolves At Bay