Invincible Czars play more than just metal


The Invincible Czars performs theatrically at an event. Photo courtesy of Brad Marcum

Nothing seems too obscure or out of the box for a band that can range from violin solos to flute features alongside guitar riffs. Where writing new music is seen simply as an opportunity to push out of their comfort zones, it’s hard to categorize this band, the Invincible Czars.

“Nobody knows what to do with this band,” said Josh Robins, guitarist and founder. “We were just writing whatever came to mind. Whatever it was, we would play whatever we want.”

Showcasing heavy metal pieces all while switching over to classical pieces at shows, and even a little Ska at one point, makes this band difficult to identify, yet so musically stimulating. It all depends on the show.

The Invincible Czars official Nosferatu poster. Artwork created by Leah Lovise. Photo courtesy of Josh Robins

Most bands are easy to identify, he says.

“If it’s a metal band every song sounds like metal. Every song is heavy, every song is loud,” Robins explained. “You’ve seen everything that band is gonna do within the first five minutes of their show. They have their sound and they do that. You know what I mean? But for us we’ve always tried to have big variety.”

From Austin, Texas, the Invincible Czars are venturing to Chico for the first time to perform their live score of one of the most influential films in cinema, “Nosferatu.”

In 2006 they performed their first silent movie score, “Aelita, Queen of Mars,” at one local theater in Austin called Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. Part of why they get to make California a part of their tour is because they get to revisit a piece of their past and play again at the drafthouse, but this time in San Francisco.

“We were excited to do it. It was right up our alley. We had a great response and the draft liked it so we just kept doing them,” Robins said. “So now we’ve kind of evolved to the point where we’ll do rock shows, we still play in nightclubs and tour like a rock band. We kind of just walked into the silent movie accompanying thing and we found that we really were pretty good at it compared to others that were doing it.”

The Invincible Czars act out a scene from one of their many live scores. Photo courtesy of Josh Robins
The Invincible Czars act out a scene from one of their many live scores. Photo courtesy of Josh Robins

Seeing other bands try to perform live scores was like playing rock music with an old movie in the background, he said. Those bands didn’t really make a musical connection to the film they were accompanying.

The Invincible Czars set themselves apart from other bands’ scores; they didn’t want that monotony that so many others presented to their audiences, Robins said. Having composed seven movie scores already, their distinctive approach let the movie shape where the music was going, a performance completely driven by the emotion of the film.

“It requires a lot more effort and practice than most of those bands were either willing to do or able to do,” he said. “When we started doing that, we noticed that people really responded to it. We try to really bring a lot of variety into what we do and a lot of different sounds, and our silent movies are especially true of that.”

In order to get a real sense of what the Invincible Czars can do, experience their live score of “Nosferatu” at The Pageant Theater on March 10.

Carly Plemons can be reached at [email protected] or @plemnz on Twitter.