Conquest – The War We Rage
Release Date: April 30, 2013
“The War We Rage” marks the seventh slab of metal laid down by the St. Louis quartet known as, Conquest. With a quarter century under their belt, the mix of Derrick Brumley (vocals, guitar), Mike Crook (guitar), Rob Boyer (bass) and Tim Fleetwood (drums) have nearly perfected a balance of Bay Area thrash, traditional, power and speed metal.
Over the course of this new 13-track onslaught fans can find kindred brotherhood with the likes of early 80s Exodus and Metallica, Manowar, Iced Earth, Judas Priest and Diamondhead, to name but a few.
Brumley’s power howls lead the way on the opener, “Coming With Vengeance”, which carries a current of Diamondhead‘s “Am I Evil?” in the riff. The album’s longest song clocks in at seven minutes, and with its minute long epic build it sets the patriotic tone for the album. The guitar work is crunchy and spectacularly done. The rhythm section is thunderous and rumbling, and the song is everything an old school rocker could ask for. Pass the denim vest.
“Never Forget” continues the theme, with a young girl reciting the pledge of allegiance to kick it off. The riff offers a nod to Metallica‘s “For Whom the Bell Tolls”. “Tyrants of the New World” opens with an air raid siren and turns into a speed metal juggernaut that reminds me of latter day Priest.
“Live Free or Die” has an early Iron Maiden meets Manowar vibe to it while the title track teases with its Overkill tone.
One can revel in the thunderous cacophony of “Get Off My Back”, with its excellent guitar dance, and crushing drum work. This is one of the album’s more modern feeling tracks. Next we crank up the band’s raging spin on the Charlie Daniels‘ classic, “Long Haired Country Boy”, which marks the midway point of the record.
The second half of the album follows the blue-print of the first, but it perhaps not as strong overall. There are still some powerful metal moments here that are neck whipping, headbang worthy. For those who feel the heart of metal beat most loudly in the 80s, this is an album for you. “Scream For My Life” is the highlight of the second half and perhaps the album’s heaviest and most brutal track along side the Slayer-eque closer of “Tomorrow’s Back”.
“The War We Rage” offer nods to some of metal’s pioneers but Conquest are able to add their own signature and depth. If there is a weakness it is that the album lacks notable variety. Too many songs seem to flow into each other. Overall though, this is a strong album worthy of cranking to 11. Raise that metal banner high and wave it proudly!