While Hit The Lights admit that the road leading up to Invicta was difficult, had it not occurred then these songs never would have come into existence. "There's no way we would have been able to write the songs on the record had the past couple of years not happened the way they did," the band's guitarist Omar Zehery explains, "so this record did take a long time but I feel like it was a blessing in disguise." This same sentiment is shared with the rest of the band— which also includes vocalist Nick Thompson, guitarist Kevin Mahoney, bassist David Bermosk and drummer Nate Van Damme—all of whom came together to make Invicta the most cathartic album of their career.
Recorded in separate sessions by both Mike Sapone (Brand New, Taking Back Sunday) and Machine (Lamb Of God, Four Year Strong), Invicta showcases how much Hit The Lights have grown musically over the past few years and proves that in an increasing homogenized musical landscape the band aren't scared of creating a sound that isn't easy to pigeonhole. "Each producer has their own different feel but I think these two halves definitely fit together to form a cohesive whole on this album," Thompson explains, adding that Invicta is the band's most dynamic album to date. "This is us doing exactly what we want to do for ourselves and not listening to what anyone else thought we should be and I think that really shines through in the diversity of the disc," he continues.
From the stadium-ready opening anthem "Invincible" to instantly infectious upbeat rockers like "Gravity" and inventively arranged pop tunes like "Earthquake," Invicta perfectly captures the many sonic sides to Hit The Lights... and that's just the album's first four tracks. "The goal for this record was to be epic," Thompson explains. "We just wanted everything to sound powerful and for it to be the type of album you can listen to over and over and hear different things" Zehrey adds, "We wanted this album to have that same raw feel that's inherent in our live shows and I think that both producers really nailed it," it explains. "The songs definitely have pop elements to them but we made a conscious effort to make sure they weren't too polished, either."
Invicta is also the most collaborative album of Hit The Lights' career and sees each member of the band making their own distinctive contributions to the end product. "There are four very strong songwriters in this band so I think on this record everyone stepped it up and brought the best thing they had to the table," Thompson explains, "everyone made lyrical contributions and I think that helps leave these songs up to interpretation for the listener because every person in this band was also coming at these songs from their own perspective." Additionally songs like the album closer "Oh My God" see the band expanding their sonic pallet to create a sound that's as artful as it is ambient. "We weren't trying to shy away from pop-punk," Thompson clarifies," we just tried to be ourselves and write honest music."
Ultimately that last statement lies at the core of what makes Invicta so special. The album may feature the band's most mature recordings to date but in many ways it's also a return to form for Hit The Lights in the sense that they don't have anyone to answer to but themselves on this album. "That original spark and excitement was definitely reignited when we were making this record," Zehery says. "We came up with the title Invicta because it means victory or rising above and everyone agreed that was fitting considering what we've been through of the past few years," Thompson explains. "Once we got back the mixes and heard the final versions of the record we all knew that these songs were worth every ounce of work and sweat that went into them because you can sense that honesty and that's something you just can't fake. I can't wait for people to hear it."
Download: Hit The Lights