If you are the kind of heavy music fan that enjoys fast drumming with catchy guitar riffs and a hint of blackened death metal, then George Kollias is your man. Coming from Nile fame, the heavy metal world knows George and his accomplishments as a drummer. However, he comes out swinging on his solo début, Invictus (Season of Mist). Outside a handful of guest guitar solos and guest vocals, George recorded all the rest of the instruments for the record. With eleven tracks that clock in around the fifty-four minute mark, there is enough glorious death metal to make even the crabbiest elitist entertained!
Track by track I found myself whistling guitar riff after guitar riff as they get more catchy with each song. It was tough picking out the favorites on this release as each song has its own interesting personality even after a handful of times through the album. I found the tracks that stood above the rest were the ones that sounded like new Behemoth or Septicflesh songs. Of course I am not saying George did covers or is “ripping them off”, but more in the sense that he was clearly influenced by his peers other work to help shape what he wanted Invictus to sound like. There are four tracks right in a row that I cannot seem to listen to unless they are right in order: ‘Aeons of Burning Galaxies’, ‘Shall Rise/Shall Be Dead’, ‘Voices’, and ‘Treasures of Nemesis’. I have caught myself at work on more than a few occasions either whistling the guitar riffs or smacking my two index fingers off of my desk as if I was George Kollias himself behind a set. Not taking anything away from the rest of the album (yes it is that good), but I just felt most connected to this stretch of the album.
Overall, I am more than pleased with the work done by Mr. Kollias here. Aside from the noted guests, George can play guitar, and boy can he play it well. Vocally he’s also quite gifted too! While not anything completely unique to the death metal world in terms of sound, Invictus has proven to all that George Kollias the solo artist is the real deal. Look out Dave Grohl, someone else in the world can play as many instruments as you do!
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN