Belgian speed metal outfit Evil Invaders is on the cusp of their next release, Shattering Reflection, due out April 1st. The classic heavy metallers take elements of trash, speed, and more melodic metal that craft a sound that is both passionate and ferocious.
Sitting down with Joe, frontman of Evil Invaders, we discuss the upcoming album, his roots and their live presence.
Long time fans have had to wait quite a bit for Shattering Reflection, being 5 years removed from their last release, Feed Me Violence. But that time was well used on this record, with more twists, turns and surprises than on previous releases.
“Because we had so much time between the previous record and this one, we had a lot of time to write demos.” Joe reminisced. “You can clearly hear that there’s different moods throughout the entire record. Some are very violent, while others are slower and more atmospheric. It’s also the first time where we have a song on the record where Max
I was like ‘Dude, you sound way more convincing,’ because it’s also his lyrics. Most of the time I write or rewrite the lyrics. But here, the lyrics were really cool and I could hear him singing it and I was like ‘This totally sounds like you and your story, so why don’t you just sing it.’”
The first single from the album, “In Deepest Black” was almost shocking for those familiar with Evil Invaders’ previous work. The emotional ballad was vastly different from their typical speed metal and violence, but no less dark than what you would expect.
“I think it's one of the best tracks we’ve ever written. I like doing this big contrast in the music. Because everybody would expect, like, “Oh the new Evil Invaders is coming out. It’s going to be fast and heavy,” and then we release the ballad as the first single, like a little slap in the face, haha! I think it’s fun.”
“It was a very inspiring time for us, because with COVID and stuff, we were just sitting at home, we had a lot of time, we didn’t have to think about touring. I didn’t have to think like “Oh I can’t go too crazy right now experimenting with my voice because we have to do a show next weekend.” It was basically like carte blanche, so we could do whatever the fuck we wanted and had the time to experiment with weird stuff. Like, “This demo is weird, but let’s try to make something out of it.” And then, if it’s nothing, you can just throw it away and start with something fresh. While, if there is a deadline, you’re fucked. There’s no time for so much experimenting and you go the safe way. We had, like, 20 demos and we were fucking around with them and it was a lot of fun.”
All of that experimentation was possible both due to COVID and Evil Invaders taking the full time they had to play with to try new things.
“We finished the recordings and sent everything to the label in October
Outside of their music, one of the things that stands out about Evil Invaders is their image. The band is wholly authentic to their classic roots and influences down to their bullet belts and surprise VHS releases of live shows.
“We never really thought about
Here in the US, many fans are getting their first intro to Evil Invaders with this album. But while we wait this last stretch, it is highly recommended to dig into their discography and really get to know the band and where they come from, so you’re primed for the adventure that will be Shattering Reflection.
“If people are really into thrash, I would tell them to check out Feed Me Violence” in its entirety.” Joe says of getting started with Evil Invaders. “But if you’re more into Scorpion’s style stuff I would say check out “In Deepest Black” because it’s a more mellow track, it's more melodic. It’s quite hard for me to say “this is Evil Invaders”. On our first album, I’m not really satisfied with how it was recorded, but production wise the latest album is the best. It has a lot of variation from very fast to very slow. I would, of course say, check out the upcoming album because it's the best shit we’ve ever done.”
An Evil Invaders live show is like their music: Fast, Loud and Rude (ba dum tiss!). For those hoping to see them here in the states, keep your fingers crossed that it will happen with this album!
“We tried once and we got sent back! Visa issues.
And their live shows are something to behold! Joe recalled a particular show in Brazil: “We were playing a very shitty backline. The drums and amps and stuff were all from the venue, only the guitars were ours. And in the middle of the show, the amp Max was using started smoking and caught fire, haha! So in the middle of the show, they swap out the amp and we continue. And then his string breaks so he has to go and change it because he didn’t bring a spare guitar. In the meantime Senne is playing the drums and the drum kit is falling apart, because he was beating it so hard. And the crowd was going crazy, they were losing it! And I was like “Let’s just keep playing as good as we can with the backline we have.” And then I grab the microphone and I go to scream and I see I ripped the cord, haha! The plug was still in the mic, but the cord was broken. So then I was like “Fuck this shit!” and I take the mic and I throw it away, I take off my guitar and I jump into the crowd and people catch me. And they’re screaming and I see their eyes and they’re crazy and full of adrenaline and they pull me down instead of pushing me up! They pull me down on the floor and they’re all on me screaming “AHHHHHH! PLAY MORE! PLAY MORE!” And I’m like “WE CAN’T PLAY MORE!”
It was a very small club, so the crowd was super intense. They were all very close to the stage and then they were on top of me basically ripping my shirt while they were screaming in my face. That was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced at a live gig. It was like a movie scene.”
When you see Evil Invaders on stage, you may notice the coolness of their guitars. On top of being an accomplished vocalist and guitar player, Joe is also a talented luthier and actually hand makes all the guitars for the band. “I used to play Vs all the time, but then when I sit down they slide. But the last one I made, it looks like blades. But I also build customs for people when they ask me. They will make a little sketch and ask, “Can you make me something like this?” Then I go drawing and make it work. It’s fun! It’s a very creative job.
We do a lot to make the live aspect very, I wouldn’t say theatrical, but it should fit with the music. It should look dangerous and violent. Everything needs to look cool.”
As fun as the band is, the topics that they deal with in their music are quite heavy from nightmares and mental anguish to straight emotional turmoil, Evil Invaders isn’t a “light” band in any sense of the word, but a very cathartic one, meant for screaming and thrashing out your angst.
“When I write it down and I scream it out, it’s out of me. It’s like a healing thing. And I get satisfaction when it all fits together in the song and you hear the emotions in the song. THat’s a really cool thing for me. Especially bringing it live and seeing people going “Fuck yeah!” Obviously, when I heard this record when it was finished, mixed and mastered, I was so happy with the result, because I feel the songs.”
As Evil Invaders grow in their careers and establish themselves, they want younger artists and bands to remember one very important thing: authenticity. Evil Invaders, themselves, are very true to who they are and what they do and hope to see young bands carry themselves in the same way.
“Don’t be afraid to try new stuff. And don’t try to copy just one band and be like “Oh I want to be like Judas Priest, so we’re going to dress up like Judas Priest, sound like Judas Priest and have album covers like Judas Priest.” Because that band already exists and they’re going to probably be better at it than you, because it’s their thing. They started it. So try to combine different styles that you like. Try to find your own sound. It’s a journey. It was for me too! The way I sing now is way different from how I sang in 2009 and thank god for that! Just try to come up with creative ideas and think about how to present yourselves to the masses. Everything is important: artwork, visuals, sound. Don’t underestimate the sound! I mean, if you put AC/DC’s production on our music, it wouldn’t be as dark and sinister as it is right now. It’s a great sound for AC/DC, but it wouldn’t suit us.
I always listened to bands like Savatage and they have this very atmospheric sound as well and same with Mercyful Fate and then you have things like Exodus that is very tight and cutting. And I try to mix those things up.
That’s what I thought was really cool about the mixing of “Painkiller” from Judas Priest. There’s so much shit happening, and there is this rumbling and it’s like the entire world is collapsing in that fucking song! You can write something that blows people’s minds, but you have to pay attention to how it sounds and where the sounds go from left to right. These are details, but it is where the magic is at.”
We all have that one story of where we got into heavy metal either as a kid or later in life. That magical moment that sets us on the left hand path. Usually a sibling or cousin introduces us, or maybe our parents, but in Joe’s case, his early introduction came from an unexpected place.
“It was actually from a computer game my older brother was playing. My brother is eight years older than me and he was playing this monster truck game and where you select your monster truck, in the menu, there was this song. And I was like “Woah, what’s that?” And he said “That’s heavy music. Some guys in my class listen to it.” So he gave me this tape, which had, like, “heavy music” or something written on it. I listened to it and I was immediately sold. It took me like 12 years to figure out which band it was, haha! It was Unanimated, the Ancient God of Evil record. So that’s the first thing I heard when I was like 7 or 8 years old.”
Evil Invaders will continue to play the shows that they can as we emerge from the pandemic and, fingers crossed they can make it stateside. Fortunately, according to Joe, we may not have to wait as long for the next album.
“Only the best tracks made it to the record in the end. I don’t know if we are going to use the other demos or if we are going to rewrite them. The plan is, right now, to properly start doing songwriting in summer. It shouldn’t be another five years before the next album comes out, haha!”
One very unsurprising thing about Joe though is his favorite dinosaur. Quite on brand for Evil Invaders, it’s the Velociraptor! “They’re fast, they’re sharp and it’s awesome.”
Shattering Reflection will be out on April 1st via Napalm Records. You can pre-order your copy HERE.