Invent Animate: Immolation Of Heaven

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In a world somewhat dominated by religious ideologies, the concept of Heaven has been imprinted on us from a young age. Clouds, choral music, a lot of white clothing we’re sure is a nightmare to get clean should someone spill red wine on it. It’s somewhere the souls of loved ones go when they pass on. It offers comfort to those left behind, shouldering the brunt of our grief. Texan-based outfit INVENT ANIMATE brings that despair to the forefront and tears open the grieving heart.

After spotting a road sign for Heavener, Oklahoma whilst on tour, INVENT ANIMATE picked apart what the concept of heaven actually means to some people. As vocalist Marcus Vik tells us, it’s not all clouds and harpists. “Heaven can also be a place of solitude, where everything has led up to a moment where it all stops and it’s silent.” For many, the sound of silence can be a terrifying prospect and one some actively avoid. The silence speaks the truth. In a realm where it’s nothing except us and our thoughts or our feelings, that self-confrontation proves far too much for some. While on the other hand, it can be an incredibly powerful moment for learning and growth as Heavener goes on to prove.

Four albums in and this is a band who is still keen on finding who they are. Not only as individuals but as a unit as well. The album does tackle the theme of loss and the emotional complexities that come with it, but it isn’t always doom and gloom. “I feel like if you’ve been through hell, you always learn something from where you are, especially in bad times,” Marcus comments on the album’s theme of personal growth. It’s here where Marcus introduces us to the idea that heaven, however we may see it, isn’t the final destination as he mentions. “It’s a pause to stop and reflect on what’s been, but also plan for what’s to come.”

With that in mind, could the moment of silence between albums be an example of heaven? Heavener marks Marcus’ second album with the band and brings with it changes some may not expect. Maintaining the metalcore elements of INVENT ANIMATE, songs such as Reverie, a peaceful ballad of sorts signal a more progressive approach. “I think we implemented a lot of shock value into this album compared to the last one,” Marcus starts, referring to 2020’s Greyview. “Metalcore is a genre that’s been around for a long time now and when you listen to bands, you feel like it’s all been done before so we wanted to put things in place to make it more interesting.”

In their quest to make metalcore interesting again, the band produced recent single Immolation Of Night, a slab of pure aural aggression. That may seem typical for metalcore or melodic hardcore as it stands but it shows a different side to INVENT ANIMATE the band had been hesitant to tap into before now. “It’s a way for us to show the brutal side of us – because we definitely have that, as do all metalcore bands,” Marcus begins. “I don’t think we’ve had this much positive feedback on a single before which is cool because we put it out just to see what the fuck it would do for us.”

What it did for them was create an opportunity to put together a cinematic video which borders on supernatural horror film. Cited as the scariest song the band had ever written, Immolation Of Night is also the heaviest from the band and deserves that attention in their eyes.

Something else which demands attention is the centring of vocals in Heavener. Particularly cleans. Working with a singing producer, Marcus was able to work with what he already had and unlock that full potential. An example being Labyrinthine. While many of the clean vocals sit at a higher register, which is again new for the band, this chorus in particular sits on the lower end. “We wanted to make a chorus where I sing low but still implement a lot of emotion,” Marcus tells us. “It’s actually the song I listen to the least but am still massively surprised by how good it is because of that emotion and the simplicity of the melody overall.”

Marcus pauses for a moment when we ask what his most favoured song on the album is before answering with False Meridian. An ominous track about the ideology that “nothing is permanent” and learning to embrace the temporary nature of life, False Meridian is undeniably in your face. Yet it is one which requires repeat listens. “It’s gonna be nice to have people read the lyrics after they’ve listened to the record,” he muses. “While this is our most literal record, there’s still a spectrum for people to pick and choose their own vision.”

What Heavener leaves us with is a vision of growing through our pain. Going through hellish situations to reach a moment of respite. A sense of paradise. Within the vast silence which comes after INVENT ANIMATE’s latest offering comes the sense that heaven isn’t a stereotypical dominion after all, but a momentary oasis on our path to our final destination. However that might look.

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