Halcyon Way - Conquer
19 August 2014

01. Conquer
02. Web Of Lies
03. Conceived In Torment
04. Home
05. World Comes Undone
06. Militant
07. Hatred Is My Cause
08. The Poisoned Apple
09. Save Your Tears
10. Every Second Counts [USA bonus]
11. King Of Ruin
12. Eviscerate The Morning Sun

Complexity for complexity's sake is often a stigma attached to progressive metal, and it's refreshing to hear a band that takes a more direct path toward instilling an impression. Halcyon Way have reached their fourth full-length record, and at this stage their own direction is well defined with an electric accessibility being the focus of their aims.

Their latest effort Conquer finds the band firmly establishing their own sound, and it possesses a thrashing intensity propelled with an immediacy that comes across as resolved yet rigid, as the melodic structures are upheld by resoundingly heavy and omnipresent guitar work, the resulting sound being ably fixed into position by the dominant march of mid-paced rhythms. This makes for a very robust and consistent listen, yet it lacks many of the additives and variant flourishes that you would expect of a progressive metal record, as it favours more straightforward chorus highlighting and directly guitar driven numbers.

However the song writing doesn't completely short-circuit structural variance in its more direct approach. The electric energy provides for a punchier as well as more complex core structure than the average power metal record, given the heavy element of thrash tightly melded into the mix, yet accessibility isn't compromised as it pulls it off in a well constructed and readily coherent album. Cuts such as "King Of Ruin" demonstrate the ability to blend power and thrash together seamlessly, opening with the lick of the leads before building into a resolute rhythm.

The vocal style is something which will likely divide a number of listeners, as the delivery of Steve Braun sets a common and reliable monotone to the arrangements. More guttural additions and varied backing vocals serve to add some change to the otherwise unshifting style of the album's lead voice.
What the album lacks in melodic hooks, such as that reserved within the centre of the final track "Eviscerate The Morning Sun," it makes up for with a consistent delivery in the heavy riff versed rhythm section. The production here is perfectly suited for releasing the band's statically charged performance, the drums also receiving a full-on impact value, granting considerable force to drive the album's fixed tempo onward to its conclusion.

The course of the album doesn't deviate far from its clearly defined direction, and follows a set style of song construction, which does give the track-list a rather "samey" feel throughout. In its entirety this is the album of an accomplished progressive metal outfit, clearly aiming for something catchier and more accessible than the average fare. This latest release is highly recommended to fans of the likes of Italy's Eldritch.

Performance: 8
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Production: 9


Written on 12.08.2014 by
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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BloodTears - 12.08.2014 at 10:50  
You described what I was expecting from this album, not too bad but not great either, solid stuff. I'll listen to it though, seems interesting enough
tea[m]ster - 13.08.2014 at 19:17  
I like a little prog metal now and then - love the artwork too. Thanks for the review..
R'Vannith - 14.08.2014 at 05:10  
Written by tea[m]ster on 13.08.2014 at 19:17

love the artwork too.

That's a Travis Smith work, very nice I have to agree. He's done the artwork for a few of the band's album covers.

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