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Halcyon Way - "Conquer" (CD)

Halcyon Way - "Conquer" CD cover image

"Conquer" track listing:

1. Conquer
2. Web Of Lies
3. Conceived In Torment
4. Home
5. World Comes Undone
6. Militant
7. Hatred Is My Cause
8. The Poisoned Apple
9. Save Your Tears
10. Every Second Counts (USA Bonus Track)
11. King Of Ruin
12. Eviscerate The Morning Sun

Reviewed by on July 23, 2014

"The best way to describe the performance on 'Conquer' is 'armor-plated Saigon Kick with industrial tentacles...'"

Just under two years ago, at ProgPower USA 2012, the first single and video for the new track “Web of Lies” was premiered. Now all the blood, sweat ,and tears that Halcyon Way put into what would become the next album “Conquer” has finally come to fruition. Shortly after the release of the EP “IndoctriNation,” the seeds of “Conquer” were sown. Since that release and the last full-length album “Building the Towers,” the band went through a couple of lineup changes. However, the core remained the same and the end result is a testament to the will of guitarist Jon Bodan, vocalist Steve Braun, and drummer Ernie Topran’s unyielding desire to succeed. “Conquer” is by far the best offering from the band, incorporating a depth of influences that cross genres to the point where you can only call it “progressive.”

There is much more to the concept of “Conquer” than the underlying message. Where there has always been great maturity and strength in the songwriting, the band has incorporated some of the most muscular riffs in its history, making this release by far its heaviest material recorded to date. Melody mongers need not fret, as the soulful whims of a hard rock band lurk deep inside the madness. The best way to describe the performance on “Conquer” is “armor-plated Saigon Kick with industrial tentacles.” Knowing much of the influences that each member brings into the fold, I can easily envision a death match where the old hard rock roots being pummeled and distorted by the modern meat mallets of Monster Magnet and Samael.

The title track paves the way with Braun’s impassioned chanting equipped with sharpened blades. It’s a nasty little combination that leaves him open to take it in any direction. For tracks like “Conceived in Torment” and “Hatred is My Cause,” Braun ratchets up the edges aided by Bodan’s death grunts for lethal brutality. Lessor “evisceration” comes in the form of “Home” and two of the album’s most expressive tunes “Save Your Tears” and “The Poisoned Apple.” At no time does the album succumb to that programmed standard album formula: heavy, heavy, mid-paced, power ballad, heavy. It has too many moving parts that keep the sound fresh and modern.

Some of the strongest offerings come in the relentless attack riffs in “World Comes Undone,” the equally destructive but faster paced “King of Ruin,” and the on par closer “Eviscerate the Morning Sun.” Personal favorites include the long released “Web of Lies” and its “you can’t hold me back” chant, and the brilliant modern metal classic “Militant,” which is the aggregate of what you will hear on the entire release. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the production and sound aspects of “Conquer” can be summed up with the same two words that have graced many a review from yours truly in 2014: Lasse Lammert. I shall not further expound upon this man’s knob turning talent any more than has been stated in the past.

“Conquer” may have been the logical choice for an album title. You can point to the many themes throughout the lyrics and extract all sorts of meaningful impressions. However, the true meaning of “Conquer” is that Halcyon Way has struck a chord of near perfection with an in fallible modern metal sound, which keeps the listener off guard with the unexpected…yet ironically with the same comfort level expected from a band with the maturation, talent, and songwriting ability of 13 year veterans.

Highs: Infallible, genre bending modern metal played at its finest.

Lows: Some may find that Haclyon Way strays a bit from comfortable established molds.

Bottom line: Halcyon Way has literally "conquered" the ability to be defined!

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)