Switchblade - Invictus Infinitum (Switchblade Music Productions)
By: Justin Donnelly
[8.5/10] Sometimes you can just tell a band has that something special, and given time, that particular band will justly deliver something truly incredible. Sydney (New South Wales, Australia)-based act Switchblade are one of those particular groups.
And while their 2005 debut effort The End Of All Once Known was hardly hailed as an absolute classic, it had enough to suggest that it would only be a matter of time before they emerged with a real stunner. And sure enough, after four years away and a series of line-up changes, the five piece act (who now comprise of vocalist Adam ‘Adz’ Helmrich, guitarists Andrew Najdek and Anthony Delvecchio, ex-Infernal Method bassist Gerard Dack and drummer Mat Piccolotto) are back with their second full-length effort Invictus Infinitum, and one that surpasses all expectations.
After a minute-long atmospheric introductory piece (The title track “II”), the band quickly gets down to business with the fast paced “Revelation.” Vocalist Helmrich certainly adds to the extremity of the band’s overall approach with his guttural growls, while the newly added dual guitar attack of Najdek and Delvecchio sounds more expansive and thought out in the composition than anything the band have emerged with before.
The follow on tracks “Coil Of The Serpent” and the galloping “Solitary Existence” are more groove orientated efforts that rely on heavy guitar riffs and leading rhythmic drum patterns, while “The Cancer Benign” and the Gothenburg melodic death metal influenced “This Impure Design” demonstrate the technical finesse and ability within the band, especially within the various time changes and melodic guitar solos.
Nevermore guitarist Jeff Loomis adds a little colour to the album by providing a guest solo on the rather catchy “Reflective Curse,” leaving the death metal-influenced “Lacerate” and equally intense “As The Sun Dies” to close out the album.
There are countless bands within today’s melodic death metal scene, but there are precious few that breathe new life into the sound. Switchblade is one of those few to do just that. Coupled with the fact that the album is a giant leap ahead of their debut, boasts a killer production (Darren Jenkins produced and Neil Kernon mixed) and all wrapped in packaging that rivals anything from a major label, there’s no question that Invictus Infinitum is a strong contender as one of best Australian metal releases for this year.