Conquest for Death A Maelstrom of Resentment and Remorse LP
Full transparency, I was not that familiar with CONQUEST FOR DEATH’s music, but except by name and band connection proper enough for, and prior to, reviewing this. Those lack of credentials alone had me feeling a bit nervous and a bit queasy, to be honest. Sick from hardcore? And maybe that’s the point and best way to go into this. I also like to use maelstrom a lot in reviews, so I immediately connected with a band I felt I should already know much better. I had only seen a few of the bands associated with CONQUEST FOR DEATH: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?, ARTIMUS PYLE, FUCKFACE, and NO STATIK often when I moved out West, and I bet had they made it over East (and they probably did), holy crap, I must have missed out! Anyway, this beautifully designed LP, their return recording since 2013, kicks off with what I can only describe as if SHOCKING BLUE or BABE RUTH played hardcore and FINAL CONFLICT ripped forth with gruesome guttural crust vocals. The timbre of BRUTAL TRUTH rears back and forth throughout, as does the lost rasp of BLACK FLAG. That being said—an excellent combination on the mic. Weird and wild thrash moments are fused within à la VOIVOD with the all-go abomination of REPULSION, adding grit. The lyrics are deep, existential, somewhat scientific at times(!) and real. “Philosophy, rock climbing, liquor, and weed!” Real words, which I loved, but in all seriousness, the songs cover a lot of topics, through storytelling and reflection. Now let’s talk about this artwork. This gorgeous cover by Alex Nino, a glossy black ink and grey wash warrior, rides a battle elephant, covered in bladed armor, which was used several times throughout history, but my nerdy imagination immediately went to Return of the King. An enormous full-color poster is also included; another elephant battler, on what seems like the body of Mazinger Z, by Glenno Smith. Add a vinyl sticker, and a gatefold panoramic photo (AND a second poster of this gatefold photo is included!) of the band captured in frozen energy, surrounded by a sea of their closest conquesters, a sight sorely missed this day and age. Overall the packaging is top-notch, and the tunes are an adventure in, yes, resentment and remorse, anger and injustice, but they also have a party feel and are kind of a psychedelic journey, and return trip if you will, into modern hardcore while retaining the styles of the past. To sum up, do I have any other CONQUEST FOR DEATH records, no. Am I thrilled to have this magnificent love-FOR DEATH effort, will I put the sticker on my BMX? Fuck yeah, I am. Fucking awesome!