It goes without saying that the Covid pandemic reaped havoc upon the metal scene, but even more than a year of worldwide lockdowns could not blunt its spirit, let alone extinguish it. Case and point, Belgian upstarts and old school metal revivalists EVIL INVADERS, who looked into the catastrophe that was 2020 and saw opportunity. Though not alone in their effort to keep the flame alive in the recording studio, there was definitely a unique character to the manner in which this quartet’s unique blend of speed, thrash and old school heavy metal took shape when songwriting of their eventual 3rd studio LP commenced. In a sense, the resulting stress that was on front man Johannes “Joe” Van Audenhove and his cohorts brought them closer to the vintage sounds of Metal Church, Crimson Glory, Exciter and all the others that have been their most obvious influences.
One could almost say that the band became compartmentalized due to the inability to meet regularly for rehearsals, yet when the final product was compiled, the same outfit that created the larger than life metallic feats that were “Pulses Of Pleasure” and “Feed Me Violence” was clearly in view. About the only difference that could be readily observed was that they’d become a bit more methodical in their approach, not pulling any punches by any means, but also choosing wisely when to push the engines of aggression to the maximum and when to scale things back to a more menacing atmospheric stroll. This is perhaps best exemplified in the radical difference in stylistic expression between mad thrashing beasts like “Hissing In Crescendo” and “Sledgehammer Justice” vs. slower melancholic numbers like “Forgotten Memories” and “Aeon” that, nevertheless, retain a strong sense of thematic cohesion and culminate in an almost conceptual whole.
Perhaps the greatest challenge in reconciling the enigma of EVIL INVADERS’ adoptive style, particularly on this newest opus, is the seemingly disparate lyrical themes that are united together into a singular pitch black portfolio. Topics range from the madness that comes with insomnia and its correlation to the reptilian evil that exists within all of mankind that is the opening song’s (“Hissing In Crescendo”) theme, versus the highly poignant subject of facing death and observing the mental decline of an elderly relative that is carried by “Forgotten Memories”. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say that for a time where most of humanity was being denied many of the experiences that go with day to day life, Joe and the others had received a fair bit of them, though if the consequently dark and aggressive style is any indication they weren’t all of a leisurely nature.
It’s fair to say that even those who might not regard “Shattering Reflection” as the greatest album to be unleashed by this highly proficient player in the European speed/thrash scene will concede that its uniqueness among their works is beyond question. Earlier Sonic Perspectives associate Jonathan Smith caught up with guitarist and lead vocalist Joe to discuss the album, how the band progressed from being a backyard hobby with his cousin to a full time career with major label support, and a number of other things connected with the growing legacy of the EVIL INVADERS brand. For more interviews and other daily content, make sure to follow Sonic Perspectives on Facebook, Flipboard and Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified about new interviews and contents we publish on a daily basis.