CONQUEROR, War Cult Supremacy (2011, Nuclear War Now!)

The skull:
This album was originally released in 1999 with a different, non-skull cover. The one pictured here is from the Nuclear War Now box set reissue, and we like it a lot. Yet, as feral as Conqueror’s music is, it’s sort of a dopey looking cover…the single strand of barbed wire is not very threatening, and the skull itself is an oblong, flattened dome, looking kinda sad plopped on top of bones; appears to have belonged to a midget or dwarf. Even their logo is kinda lame. But still this cover — resplendent in fire engine red — somehow works well to communicate this band is no-bullshit death noise; you get that they’re not doing any Motley Crue covers or something equally as silly.

The music:
I have a deep love for primitive noise from late ’80s/early ’90s bands like Nuclear Death, Sarcofago, and Order From Chaos (their forebears being stuff like Voivod’s second album, early Sodom and Bathory’s second and third), so I really should be flipping out over Canada’s Conqueror. They attempted to carry on deathly metal noise in a similar vein, and while I respect what they’re doing, it’s so sharp and scathing and utterly monotonous that it ends up sounding like Sadistik Exekution and less like the more organic mess of the aforementioned earlier bands. But I can hang, and actually get more out of this album now than when it was originally released. It’s a blinding smear of piercing treble-drenched guitar and well-played drum blasts, with completely unhinged vocals that spit pure venom. The fact that Conqueror featured a member of the mighty Blasphemy provides a link between the earlier primitives and this newer strain of ridiculous intensity. The slightly more popular Revenge is essentially the successor band to Conqueror, but they’re even less interesting than Conqueror. Best song? “Kingdom Against Kingdom,” as it’s the most over-the-top, which is saying something on an album like this. They also do Slaughter and Sarcofago covers on this album, so you know they’re pretty damn committed to this insanity. By the end of its 46 minutes you’re completely fatigued and want to just sit in silence for a while.
— Friar Wagner

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