CONQUEST – UNDER THE INFLUENCE (Dark Star Records)

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CONQUESTcdcoverUTIReview by Stefan: Formed in 1988, US Power/Thrash Metal outfit Conquest reached my attention for the first time with their two latest released albums entitled “End Of Days” and “The War We Rage”. Both efforts received a high, well deserved rating… I was hooked on Conquest’s way of Metal first time we met. After listening to their music, I was overcome by a true brand of excellent compositions who coined the term US Power/Thrash Metal in all its glory. Great vocals, sharp as steel/technical guitar moves reaching a high technical level, dynamic drums and grueling bass lines. Conquest had me in its grip for sure !

They have the reputation of being a great live band as well, the band’s explosive live performances took a different turn in 2014 as they spoiled their fanbase with extra sets filled with cover songs, actually legendary works from the real masters in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal delivery. These shows were entitled “Tribute To The Metal Gods” and the first plans to create a compilation, filled with only cover songs, were made. Making plans calls to make them come true… may I proudly present the brand new album from St Louis, Missouri USA based finest quartet Conquest… it is a quirky look and appreciation from the band to their own heroes of Rock and Metal appropriately entitled “Under The Influence”.

To start a so called Tribute to the Grandmasters with a song from Judas Priest entitled ‘Metal Gods’ seems a very good move to me. Conquest got me by the throat right from the very first moment. Guitars roar like thunder, the vocals are mighty strong… long story short, this opener immediately sets everything ablaze so that’s promising for what is yet to come. And conquest treats us with a second Priest song called ‘The Ripper’ and again they manage to make this classic song feels like a song from their own. Bulls eye for the second time in a row, what’s next? Taken from Iron Maiden’s second album “Killers”, Conquest brings us ‘Wrathchild’ and deliver the goods. I’m a real fan of the older Maiden albums featuring the one and only Paul Di’Anno on vocals, this guy’s way of singing reached a very high quality standard back in the days, actually invaluable ! Nothing but many words of praise for such an iconic frontman but have to admit that Conquest’s vocalist scores very good points as well. Kinda raw, still very clear and powerful to the core… does he approach the word-class talents of Mr. Di’Anno? Yes he does ! My rating in view of the other band members will continue to maintain a very high level as well. So far, this “Under The Influence” album brought on brilliant stuff, actually beautiful memories of days gone by but definitely not forgotten !

Metallica’s ‘For Whom The Bell Tolls’ can be described as one of my personal highlights of the entire album – this song is played in a masterly manner, really outstanding… the version of Conquest gives me the same good inner feeling as the original, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. ‘Ace Of Spades’ from Motorhead says it all, without beating around the bush – hard to the bone, as Lemmy always wanted. Back in 1988, one of France based Heavy Metal pioneers Trust pleased the scene with their all time classic ‘Anti Social’, taken from the album “Repression”. Eight years later on, Anthrax brought out its “State Of Euphoria” cut, one of the tracks on it was ‘Anti Social’ and was much appreciated by their worldwide fans. Many years passed by and Conquest emerges from scratch with a killer version of this legendary song. If you want to ask for my own opinion, they delivered one hell of a fantastic job… pure nostalgia while the volume controller of my amplifier receives a sharp turn to the right!

Another highlight to me comes along with the UFO cover track ‘Lights Out In London’ … once again, Conquest has indicated its own vision and the end result is incredibly good, really! It is earthly difficult to provide a highly skilled, legendary song like this with a decent cover, well Conquest did it with great potential. The strong guitar riffage and scorching leads speaks to my imagination, also outstanding are the vocal lines which are supported by well fitting drum and bass works… what a great performance ! Jon Bon Jovi’s ‘Wanted Dead Or Alive’ feels a little awkward, quite unusual and unexpected a Power/Thrash Metal band like Conquest covers a song like this. I finally come to the conclusion that their version did not sound bad at all, it’s not the band’s alley but it proves that they are, musically directed, capable to handle a lot.

Right after this song the only real character of the band comes back to top with a song from Motley Crue called ‘Red Hot’, vocal aggression and a nice headbanging pace come to life and the screaming guitars makes me feel alright. The cover from Pantera’s ‘Cowboys From Hell’ to pierce bone and marrow. You feel the adrenaline racing through your veins while listening and it’s obviously clear that Pantera belongs to Conquest’s main influential sources… another great shot guys ! They do close in style with ‘Children Of The Grave’ by Black Sabbath. Chopping, heavy -Tony Iommi- alike guitar riffs and a lethargic drum sound mark this great composition and puts an end to this enjoyable journey through the historic years of Hard Rock en Heavy Metal music.

I’ve heard a lot of so called Tribute Albums the last few years, some of which were good, some did not achieve the expected result. if I let my heart speak regarding Conquest’s “Under The Influence” tribute, well these guys have surpassed my expectations in all areas. Conquest is a great US Power/Thrash Metal outfit which earned a lot more attention than they have received so far. I’m very pleased with this tribute type of new album, still I look forward to a follow up charged with brand new songs of their own. If you aren’t familiar with their killer Metal sound so far, make sure you are real soon… check ’em out via Facebook  – to order or to find out additional Conquest info, go to: https://darkstarrecords.net/artists/conquest/

My Rating: 90/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)

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