Sound — 8
Take notice, fans of System Of A Down or any project that with Mike Patton attached. The band Invitro is ready to offer it's own blend of manic circus rock, with the debut album When I Was A Planet being one incredibly impressive (and exhausting) listen. Each track is comprised with several often-unrelated musical sections and features the spastically powerful vocals of Jeff Weber. But as untraditional as their songwriting is, Invitro's music is still entrenched in powerful riffs that take control of each track. When I Was A Planet may make some listeners out their antsy because it does sound downright crazy at times, but the talent underneath is undeniable. When you break the music down, it's vocalist Jeff Weber's presence that gives Invitro it's SOAD and Patton similarities. Weber can deliver the most beautifully sung section and then immediately transform into a demon from hell groaning in agony. While the music behind him never goes as far as Mr. Bungle did by inserting actual carnival music in the songs, Weber at times sounds like he could act as a fill-in for Mike Patton (check out the track Balloon). Even when one of the songs might be lagging a bit, Weber just sings one line and the whole dynamic of the track changes. Invitro is still relatively new, but there is a face behind it that is probably familiar to many out there. Ex-Soulfly/Snot guitarist Mikey Doling is a solid force in terms of guitar work on When I Was A Planet. Even though there are a few songs on the album that almost seem like spastic anarchy, Doling consistently delivers some of the best guitar riffs that have been heard in a while. One of the main highlights of the entire record is the track Transfer, primarily because it does revolve so heavily around some fantastic riff work from Doling. There are a few tracks that take a more familiar rock approach with its setup. While When I Was A Planet does have a few metal moments, it's still one of the most sedate songs on the record. It's one of the few tracks on the CD that allows Invitro's gentle side to come out for a sustained period of time, and in that brief time you can understand that this band does have the ability to write a solid melody. They're probably just more infatuated with something a little more unusual.
Lyrics — 7
Invitro is an odd little band, so it's not shocking to feel a little confused when listening to the lyrics on the latest album. Each individual line is interesting in it's own way, but when you paste them together into one whole song, it doesn't always make perfect sense. In one song called Lucid May Weber sings, I'm sick and I'm sick, a boat a trunk drunk; But lonely never felt this way not once; You've got to take your pleasures away. Hmmm. With any other band it might be annoying to have incomprehensible lyrics, but it almost seems appropriate for Invitro, given it's scrambled musical format.
Overall Impression — 8
If you ever get the opportunity to check out Invitro live, do it. There are bands that have the most insane music with the best shredders around, but then you get to the concert and they just stand there. Invitro is pretty much the polar opposite of that approach. They'll have you lured in the moment they step out onstage in their tin foil hats and astronaut-like suits, pacing the stage as if suffering from a fit of the crazies. It's a beautiful thing. That energy has been captured on When I Was A Planet and it's amazing how well it translated over to a recording. The album may be too much on the ear for anyone who likes a traditional, cohesive song. It is absolutely safe to say that Invitro has not yet written a crossover song like SOAD's Aerials that will get radio airplay. Nothing is simple on When I Was A Planet, but that's the charm of it all. And when you've got a talented couple of guys like Jeff Weber and Mikey Doling, it somehow all seems to work.