WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT. Even the slightest semblance of Fist Held High or '80s metal here would have satisfied my meager expectations. There should have been more advance warning of the content here--such as a wiggerized front cover or a shitty modernized logo. The first indicator of something wrong was the band photo:
ONE OF THESE THINGS IS NOT LIKE THE OTHER. The rhythm section look like disgruntled bikers, but then there's the nose-bolted and knit capped singer, who looks like he would fit better in an industrial or alternative band.
The one slightly positive thing I can say about the CD is that it was not awful in the way I was expecting, which was Pantera emulation nonsense like Omen's Reopening the Gates. The riffing is groovy, but rather than angsty chugging, they seem to be attempts to be hooky. Everything is quite mellow, there's some power balladish stuff, the production favors the vocals and drums, and there's a dearth of speed. A significant chunk of the disc sounds more like '90s hard rock than actual metal. Remember, this is the band who titled a song "Posers Will Die!" and whose debut revelled in heavy metal cliche (fantastically so, I might add). Despite my complaints about his appearance, the singer isn't an Anselloutmo clone, instead sounding like a mix of John Bush and old Chuck Billy. If only he had better material to sing over.
Even though everyone from the album except Mr. Boltnose is still in the current lineup, I noticed that on the band's official website, Invitation to Insanity isn't mentioned at all in the bio or discography (which even lists The Best of Metal Blade Vol. 1!). While disavowing this album is a sensible move, it's also pretty corny and Pantera-like to whitewash the band history.