Billy Boy In Poison

Invoker

Written by: AP on 13/02/2018 20:31:14

Having developed a reputation for taking their time between releases in the past, it was not exactly surprising that Billy Boy in Poison’s fans were left to wait nearly four years for the successor to their début album, 2013’s “Watchers”, to arrive. But considering how much of an improvement that record was compared to its predecessor, 2010’s “Perdition” EP, the Danish band earned the right to spend whatever time that was deemed necessary for completing this sophomore outing. Stylistically, “Invoker” is not the quantum leap that “Watchers” turned out to be though; rather, the five musicians have worked towards perfecting the mixture of death and groove metal that was introduced on that album and issued a follow-up on which the songwriting in particular has improved.

Indeed, the five musicians of Billy Boy’ have matured into groove dealers of the highest order, and they waste no time in striking a headbanging nerve with the powerful opener, “Absolution” — a dark and brutal piece of music, which nonetheless succeeds in capturing the listener’s attention by virtue of a verse which reeks of Gojira in everything except new vocalist Hjalte Sejr Bertelsen’s growls. This band has never been shy about wearing its influences on the sleeve, and the French group’s 2008-masterpiece, “The Way of All Flesh”, almost certainly ranks high on the list of artists and releases that inspired “Invoker” — such is the prevalence of mechanistic chugs and vast, esoteric melodies in the early part of the album in particular. But it would nonetheless be a stretch directly to liken Billy Boy in Poison to Gojira; it simply becomes another nuance in the band’s signature style, woven into a fabric which also contains sharp traces of Job for a Cowboy and Lamb of God. Billy Boy’ sounds like all of these artists, but without sacrificing any integrity, which is to say that the band has discovered where its strengths lie and utilised those to maximal effect.

Original ideas may thus be at a premium in songs like “Divided State of Mind” and “Morcar”, but as a counterbalance, the band has developed a keen awareness of what makes the modern death metal aficionado tick. The music is neither too brutal nor too mainstream, and while there are instances of technical wizardry scattered amongst, the quintet maintains a grip on the songs and disallows them from growing too confounding, as is often the case with especially the older school of death metal. Instead, there is room for catchier and more grandiose elements to thrive, as witnessed in the likes of “Iron Grip” and the standout “Exodus”. Bertelsen’s utilisation of a shrill growling style coupled with the mournful atmosphere exuding from the infectious harmonised melodies of guitarists Mikkel Ellung Larsen and Alexander Mortensen in the former quite resemble The Black Dahlia Murder, while the latter serves to underline the ambition inherent in this band’s songwriting now, unfolding as a multifaceted progressive piece and indeed one of the finest songs to feature in their repertoire yet.

In the market for death, groove and thrash metal in this country, which is notoriously saturated by countless dime-a-dozen would-be’s, this latest output from Billy Boy in Poison represents some of the best quality that you are going to find here. Much in the vein of “Gehenna” — the swan song of the late By the Patient — “Invoker” offers more than simply a soundtrack to bouts of moshing; it seems to set a precedent by ignoring what the purists feel death metal should sound like and instead opens its arms to an audience of many tastes and convictions. Granted, not all of the nine songs featured on the album succeed in maintaining the standard of the highlight moments, but even with such miscalculations factored in, it is hard to argue withe the fact that “Invoker” ranks among the better Danish metal albums to come out in 2017.

7

Download: Absolution, Iron Grip, Divided State of Mind, Exodus
For the fans of: By the Patient, Job for a Cowboy, Lamb of God
Listen: Facebook

Release date 10.11.2017
Prime Collective

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