Conquest of Steel
Storm Sword: Rise Of The Dread Queen
posted on 8/2009 By:
Conquest Of Steel is a young British band, purporting to be an old British band, and this is their second record. Their members sport names like "Dan Danger" and "Vic Victory" and "The Destroyer," so there’s an air of silliness to this that could be somewhat endearing but instead is mostly just cheesy and annoying. If the band name, the album title, the cover art and the symphonic intro didn't give you enough of an idea, I'll go ahead and say it outright: this metal is epic and corny and both intentionally so; this is melodic and rife with medieval themes and Ren-Fair folk instrumentation. Storm Sword is classic-styled Maiden-meets-Manowar-meets-Brocas Helm metal, treading the line between the traditional sword-swinging school and the goofiness of straight power metal, all blended with that folk influence. For all its lofty musical aspirations and occasional in-the-moment goofy joyfulness, Storm Sword still falls well short of exciting thanks to a bland production and a palpable sense of ennui that permeates the whole affair.
The production woes come in the form of flat drum tones—this whole record lacks crack, lacks zing, although that isn’t helped by the fact that the performances themselves feel rote and lifeless. All told, there are no riffs, no leads that truly stand out (and there are many twin guitar leads contained herein). Were it not for a few memorable moments amongst the acoustic interludes and a rare few songs that truly succeed (see below), most of Storm Sword would slide by in a power-NWOBHM flurry, never to be remembered at all. Dan Durrant’s mid-range-only vocals don't help matters, either—his voice feels passionless, moderately rangy but emotionally limited, lacking any real Mike Scalzi grit or Eric Adams (melo)dramatics.
This type of melodic epic metal has been done umpteen times before (and umpteen times better), and there’s little that separates Conquest Of Steel from their forebears and peers. As mentioned, the most memorable moments on hand fall within those forays into folkiness, presented on Storm Sword as they are usually: acoustic guitar interludes, female guest vocals, and electric guitar melodies substituting for those of lutes and lyres. When Conquest Of Steel blend their folk and metal elements best, as in "The Prophecy" or the rollicking "Lament Of The Steel," the results can be entertaining, but most of Storm Sword falls short of that mark. Also, fourteen songs of this—clocking in at fifty-plus minutes total—is simply too much of a C-grade thing.
At worst, Conquest Of Steel can be dismissed wholly as a band of youngsters imitating (perhaps even mocking) classic metal and doing so without the skill or ingenuity to add anything awesome or new to the fray. At best, Storm Sword is a weak-but-acceptable effort for die-hard fans of Slough Feg and Manowar who are looking for similar folk-tale metal and who are willing to overlook some major flaws—it’s overlong and undercooked, but I will concede that it’s not wholly unlistenable. It’s enjoyable only in its best moments, assuming one is willing to wade through the remainder to find them. Conquest Of Steel stands pale in the far extremes of the shadows of their influences and should be approached only by the most dedicated of old-school power-metallers.
Register to post comments.
RelatedConquest of Steel
Hammer And Fist
6/3/2007 Conquest of Steel
May Your Blade Never Dull