By Conquest And Consent – 'Empires' Reviewed

Belfast’s BY CONQUEST AND CONSENT have unleashed a tour de force début album in the shape of Empires, a mailed fist to the face of mediocrity. Self-released, it is an example of sheer power, both musically and lyrically, and, when they supported Anthrax in Belfast earlier this month the songs translate well to a live setting as well on the album. Impromptu pits sprung up several times. For such a heavy album there are many layers of subtleties within, that only reveal themselves after several listens. It is also an album that effortlessly blends traditional metal, with a contemporary feel – as if Five Finger Death Punch and Pantera were jamming together with Slayer…all the while blending death metal, hardcore and technical complexities… Opening instrumentals aside, the dystopian picture of a world falling apart begins with ‘Zodiac’ – recounting the story of the feared Zodiac Killer on the west coast of the USA.

Singer Pete takes on the role of narrator throughout, as he unleashes venom against a world removed from good, and destined to self-destruct. But it is not just a self-deluding rant; it is defiance against those who pull the strings from hidden depths of power. The pace and power is fuelled by drummer Andrew, who uses his kit for percussive effects as much as it is a rhythm keeper.

At times the bassist Dom’s instrument is lost in the mix, as listeners may pick up on the otherwise great track ‘We Come to Bring the Fight’.

If you had to pick a track from this album to represent the By Conquest or Consent sound it would have to be ‘The Truth Won’t Set You Free’, as guitarists Jay and Michael lay down heavy as hell riffs, and melodic snatches, all the while Pete and Jay interchange clean and growling vocals. The band show their variety with the speedy slaughter of ‘Max Ammo’, a track that could snap necks. All the members of By Conquest or Consent rise to the challenge of their first release, no more so than on final track ‘Revelations’. Clocking in at more than six minutes it has pure metal talent on show, with a variety of guitar lines that intertwine and drop like a sledgehammer during the performance.

Overall, By Conquest or Consent have produced a début album that many more well-publicised acts would be proud of. 9/10 ‘Empires’ is now available directly from By Conquest Or Consent via Facebook or via their Bandcamp page

Track List: Intro Self Exclusion Zodiac Three We Came To Bring The Fight The Truth Won’t Set You Free Max Ammo The Last Emperor Revelations

Recommended listen: ‘The Trust Won’t Set You Free’

Review by Jonathan Traynor

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