Evil Invaders have been pioneering the return of the most sinister forms of speed thrash for three albums now. Five years in the making, Shattering Reflection builds on their history of violent excess and shredding energy, while balancing the album out with slower, melodic moments. Their previous works, Pulses of Pleasure and Feed Me Violence, set the stage, while Shattering Reflection has completely decimated the stage, audience, and anyone within a mile radius with relentlessly engaging speed metal.
Right from the opening notes of "Hissing In Crescendo" we are greeted with the familiar frenzy that is Evil Invaders' precision guitar work. Vocalist Joe really stretches his range from the onset with piercing shrieks and ravenous thrashiness. "Die For Me" is one of a few tracks that can easily be described as "chantable". This album seems crafted with a live audience in mind with engaging participation tracks.
From a band that released a live recording on VHS, you need to just expect a tiny bit of trolling. Ever the trolls that Evil Invaders are (in the best possible way), the first single of the album cycle, "In Deepest Black" is an emotional ballad that hits you right in the feels. For those expecting speed and violence, this definitely was an unexpected, but completely welcome twist. "In Deepest Black," like the preceding track, is entirely chantable, but in a way that makes the listener feel the words, rather than just hearing them.
"Sledgehammer Justice" is exactly what you'd expect from Evil Invaders if you had listened to any of their previous work. "Fast, Loud 'N' Rude" injects some of the band's excellent humor, while also being an entirely serious and proficient piece of musicianship. "Forgotten Memories" slows it down once again, with an almost doom feel to it. Slow and methodical, the track isn't quite a respite, so much as being pummeled into the pit with melancholy.
Bringing back the brutality with "Eternal Darkness" the band doesn't quite speed up, but just gets progressively more violent as it moves through to "My World." "My World" will definitely elicit roaring approval, expanding the dynamics of the group, by allowing guitar player Max to shine as not only the lyricist for the track, but the vocalist.
Closing track, "The Circle" brings back the pure, frenetic energy from the beginning of the album for a hair flipping, chair breaking good time.
Shattering Reflection may have taken five years to make, but it was five years worth the wait. The band has shown just how much they can grow and expand, while maintaining everything that makes them who they are. Joe has really come into his own by employing strong clean melodies, powerful falsetto screams, and perfecting his already serrated roar and shredding capabilities.
The heavily layered melodics and fiery velocity coupled with the more mid-paced and soulful moments create a very well rounded album that is allowed to breathe and flow. At times the band feels almost maniacal, with uncontrolled and careening tempos, but like any good stunt driver, they are always in control even at the most breakneck speeds. Underneath all the speed and violence, the lyrics are dark, evocative and passionate in a way that puts Evil Invaders on par with some of the defining songwriters of this genre. For anyone hungry for traditional speed made for moshing, screaming, breaking things and more, this is the album of the year.