By Dr. Abner Mality

For those who don't know, George Kollias is the drummer of Nile. Apparently Nile's sluggish schedule isn't keeping him busy enough, so we now have a solo album "Invictus".

This is an extremely impressive solo offering. Most of these escapades wind up sounding second-rate next to the "core" band, but "Invictus" is strong in every regard, from performance to artwork. It stands on its own.Even more impressive is that Kollias literally plays every instrument here and sings, with occasional guitar and key solos coming from friends including Nile's Dallas Toler-Wade and George Emanuel of Rotting Christ along with some Greek performers from Kollias' homeland.

The music is not far from what Nile does, but slowed down and more majestic. It's what Nile would be without all the flesh-eating Cannibal Corpse stylings. The tunes are extremely epic and everything sounds larger than life. It goes without saying that Kollias' drumming dominates...but not to the point where the other instruments are obliterated. There are some downright beautiful guitar solos here, particularly on "Aeons of Burning Galaxies" (provided by Rusty Cooley from Day of Reckoning) and "Through Empty Eyes of Light" (by Yannis Papadopoulos). Those two songs are the ones I would pick as the standouts, but every track here is in the same vein, with the same approach, Also, George's vocals are more than serviceable as well and easier to understand than the guttural mumbles of Nile.

To further cement the fact that this album is no mere time-killer, there are four additional "re-workings" of songs with different performers. That gives us 15 tracks total on "Invictus" and only the intro "Echoes of Divinity" can be classified as disposable. Mr. George Kollias has done a hell of a job here and I have my doubts if the next Nile album can match it in sound and scope.