"Under the Influence"

By Dark Starr

For this new album the guys in Conquest decided to pay tribute to some of their musical influences by creating their own versions of some of the songs. The disc is kind of a mixed bag. Some of these work really well. There are some of these that are every bit as good, and maybe even a little better, than the originals. Others fall flat, but most are somewhere in between. All that said, though, taken as a killer metal album, this is a great ride. 

They open with “Metal Gods,” and I dig this rendition of the Judas Priest classic quite a bit. It’s a bit more bare bones and aggressive in some ways. It works really well for sure. While a lot of this is pretty faithful, they add a cool new section at the end. Sticking with JP material, “The Ripper” is next. It is closer to the live version of this Priest classic than it is to the original studio recording. There are some pretty amazing sections here, really. I like this at least as much as Priest’s version. 

On “Wrath Child” we get a screaming hot rendition of the Iron Maiden classic. There are no big surprises with “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” Instead, we get a blistering hot take of the Metallica stomper. I like the cut a lot for sure. 

A big part of Motorhead’s sound was Lemmy’s thundering bass. Conquest’s version of “Ace of Spades” loses that with the bass feeling a little thin and weak. That said, they do a good job of making it up with the metal guitar texture. I really miss Lemmy’s trademark vocals, too. While his voice was not great from a technical point of view, it had a lot of character. So, basically because of the lack of Lemmy, this song loses a bit. It’s not one of my favorites here. 

I’ve never been a big fan of Anthrax, so I’m not really familiar with the song “Antisocial.” It’s raw, a bit punky and pretty good. It’s not up the same level as some of the rest, though. Conquest’s version of the UFO classic “Lights Out In London” is purely on fire. It’s fast paced, fierce and very cool. It’s definitely a step back in the right direction. Although I’ve never been a big fan of Bon Jovi, I’ve always liked the ballad “Dead Or Alive.” Conquest brings more of a metal edge to it. It works quite well in this format. I enjoy this one quite a bit, really. 

With “Red Hot” they turn their attention to Motley Crue. It is alright, but just a little “average.” It’s definitely not the weakest thing here, but it’s not in the stronger category, either. “Cowboys from Hell” is next. Pantera is another band I really have never liked. This number has some killer guitar work, but I don’t really like it. Black Sabbath, on the other hand, is one of my favorite bands. So, I’d expect to dig the rendition of “Children of the Grave,” and I do. This feels a bit more edgy and raw than Sabbath’s own version. It’s definitely a good track here, but not one of the best on the disc. Somehow it’s missing just a bit of the Sabbath magic.