If you’re like me, you’ve probably turned to a non-descript Netflix series to unwind after a long day. At first, it feels good because you aren’t doing work anymore. Soon after you’ve begun the show-binging process, you start digging into your bag chips or whatever shit snack may please your palate and you steadily begin to feel like trash. Soon after that, you reach the critical point- the cruz of your post-work binge when you start an endless tirade of “God-why-the-fuck-did-I-even-start-watching-this” thoughts. Finally, you hate yourself because you can’t differentiate one episode from another anymore— it’s all running together into an endless barrage of boring, mindless drivel. So, salvation comes when your lazy ass finally realizes you can just turn off the TV or pause your laptop.
I’m not saying Invidia’s album As the Sun Sleeps is like a lackluster Netflix series, but I am saying that it was pretty damn close.
You’ll start off with your first song and the album is fine– largely because you don’t notice anything wrong yet. This is my exact experience when I turned up “Smell the Kill”, the sixth song on the album. I started out thinking, “Wow, this is like Godsmack, HELLYEAH, and Primal Fear mixed together; this is gonna be good,” but here’s my disclaimer: “Smell the Kill” ended up being the best it got for me. Is it a coincidence that this was the first one I listened to? That’s up to you to decide.
Anyways, back to my narration of myself- I’m deciding what song to hunker down on next, and I’m thinking, “Yeah, all right, I’ll start now with the first song of the album, like a normal human being would,” so I do. And it isn’t until I finish “Making My Amends” that I start opening my metaphorical chips and feeling like actual garbage (I was actually eating fries, which make me feel equally shitty). At this point, I’m trying not to sound like a metal elitist, but I can’t help it because the words “entry-metal; entry-metal; entry-metal” kept ringing in my ears. This album is not something I’d really listen to myself unless I didn’t know what else was out there—which is what people entering metal are looking for. Admittedly, the vocals in “Making My Amends” sound so raw at first (mind you, almost only for this song), even though the volume is so equalized. Too much echo? Nah, that’s okay, right? Maybe I’ll like these songs?
Ok, time for a relevant interlude here: I don’t know about you, but I love hardcore. Hardcore gets a bad rap for being really repetitive within bands and within albums, but this isn’t a problem for me because each song on an album sounds exactly how I want it to—raw as fuck, bloody-heavy djent (shame on me, but I don’t care), and a pummeling beat. It’s angry as fuck. It’s powerfully dense. And I don’t care that there’s little variation between songs because each one is made just right every time. (Don’t you just fucking love hardcore?) Interlude over.
On to the next few songs: I realize that the more you listen, the less you appreciate the repetitiveness, and the more you start to notice the various flaws in the album. The edits? Oversaturated. I have no doubt that the band members have individual talent, but they just don’t do a good job of putting that all together in a creative and memorable way. The album sounds like “local bar metal” – the stuff you’d hear in a shitty rock club in your hometown. Or like what a preteen would think is played by members of a bike gang, each one with his bandana tied on neatly by his rockabilly mother. I mean, the band does have a very southern, red-orange-sunset sound, which is respectably coherent.
I have more concessions to make, for the band’s sake. Honestly, the music might not sound too bad live, provided the band’s notes, pitch, and sense of rhythm are as good live as in their recorded songs. The real-life rawness and balance would be much better because the studio isn’t there to muddle such qualities. It’s true that most songs are just too slow for my liking, like “Rotten” (a little boring and draggy for metal), but I know the band would certainly attract a distinctive crowd because of its genre of sound. If a band can attract a consistent following, that’s all it really needs. (Of course, that audience here would pretty much only be composed of preteens who think they’re edgy, or balding 40-year-old men who were once into “the heavy metal music.”) Invidia’s As the Sun Sleeps is probably ok for people who like the mix between mainstream pop and metal, as in “Step Up” with its synth. And a final concession: I can’t deny that “Step Up” has some pretty great spirit (and even vocals)…
…But like the rest of the songs on the album, the lyrical content is so mediocre and generic-tough-guy; everything sounds so predictable. Speaking of which, how bored are the band members when they’re making these songs? The guitarist must have been bored out of his mind. The bassist was probably, too, but then the bassist of any band must always be bored during a set. The drummer probably had two ounces of fun in “Truth in the Sky,” but then a very mediocre time the rest of the way. And the vocalist? He probably had no fun writing the lyrics (otherwise they’d be much less generic), let alone singing them. The lot of them should probably go on a band bonding trip or something.
On the whole, I’m leaning toward the uncomfortable side of Netflix for this album. I respect the utility that Invidia’s As the Sun Sleeps might have for some people (i.e. those entering metal), but I am decidedly not among those people. (Ruth Xing)
For Fans Of: Disturbed, a generic version of Five Finger Death Punch, and one-functioning-half of Hellyeah