Released: 2012, Pure Steel Records
One has to wonder how many amazing and new American metal bands were squashed or forgotten with the advent of Grunge in 1992. The world may never know, but fortunately we have a great record label like Pure Steel Records, and their division Pure Underground Records helping us discover missed and lost bands from the last three decades of metal. Undeniably, this is a label that are first and foremost fans of metal, just like you and me, and releasing obscure and underground records does not generate much of a boost to the bottom line. Hats off to these guys for salvaging forgotten gems.
The gem in this case, is a Seattle band called Invader, formed in 1981. After two impressive demos, the band was on the verge of a break through, having financed their own debut full length, and a major label was taking interest. However, grunge effectively killed the deal and any chance of the band making a go at things and they promptly split up in 1993. INVADER is a throwback album for that period, the band playing an updated and well-produced style of NWOBHM. The original album had a limited release, and consequently is semi-collectable. This is an album that is pure metal though; Gary Cobb showing quit e the vocal range as the band tears through nine songs of nostalgic perfection.
There are nods to power metal, with melancholic keyboards and occasional flourishes of acoustic balladry, but this is metal in primary colors, direct and to the point, elevated by a warm and big production job. Nearest comparison would be long forgotten Canadian band Sword musically, as well as in Cobb’s vocals. While album lead off track, “Master Of Suspense” is subpar, the band quickly rights the listing ship with “Living Scared”, settling into an attractive mid-paced groove. Even album closer, “Legends” offers a fairly non-standard ballad, bearing no resemblance to the power ballads of the previous decade.
Despite the many fine qualities of this album, I have to admit that even had grunge not broken in ’92 when this album was originally released, it is doubtful the band would have been huge in the US as the label contends. Even for ’92, this sounded primitive, the peak of this style of music having been reached six years earlier. However, the well-rounded metal fan and especially the connoisseurs of NWOBHM will certainly find this to be a worthy and welcome release, hopefully finding new life and appreciation twenty years after the fact. The band has reformed and will be writing new material, so be on the lookout for a possible Anvil-like resurrection, as Germany and much of Europe still hold the band in high regard.