Artist: King Conquer
It’s finally upon us—thick, acrid smoke tarnishes countless pink lungs, gunfire and explosions resound through the air. Homes are shattered—the framework of the once-modest, hardworking American society lies in tatters, wrapped in embers of a molested flag. Meanwhile, high above the man-made clouds of smog and smut, the corporately funded, governmentally fueled juggernaut churns away, bleeding dollar after dollar in superficial attempts to “fix” the problem. True—while the scenario presented isn’t quite the scene outside your window, it is the scene in the dystopian reality presented by King Conquer’s latest full-length album, 1776. The victim of nearly insurmountable loads of both hype and anticipation, this release from the politically charged Floridian deathcore icons uses no-holds-barred heaviness combined with punctual technicality to prove that not every anticipated release has to fall prey to the seemingly boundless appetite of the “hypemonster.”
1776 is, in some ways, a revolutionary attack on King Conquer’s previously established reign of terror. Where the band’s previous releases showed them making use of Mach-speed drumming as the token source of two-dimensional technicality, the same cannot be said of the musicianship on 1776. “Demoralized” opens with a subtly strummed guitar line which quickly morphs into a riff-driven attack on the listener’s ears which combines the band’s trademark impeccable drumming with a newfound penchant for catchy and technically impressive shredding. “Empires” is another track that juxtaposes blistering blast beats alongside lacerating riffs which slice at the listener’s skin and don’t hesitate to draw blood. All the while, where the guitars range from blazingly quick to hauntingly atmospheric, and the drums maintain a persistent break-neck, fill-laden pace, the bass is right alongside them on the front lines, snapping and popping away, constantly providing a meaty, resounding low-end to the album. This low-end is further amplified by the thick, grimy tone the guitars attain when they drop from groove-tinted riffing into bone-breaking and organ-liquefying heaviness.
King Conquer established their throne in the Olympian realms of deathcore by being a sinister and relentlessly heavy act. Make no mistake, 1776 is no exception to the rule. “The Color Green,” as well as “Tyranny” are tracks which constantly berate the listener with chug-packed breakdown after chug-packed breakdown. The drums roll over the listener like a twenty-ton steamroller, while the guitars pick and tear at the listener’s shredded flesh. However, the instrumentation is not the sole aspect of King Conquer’s ability to create kilotons of heaviness at the drop of a hat. The frenetic, dynamic vocal range used by King Conquer to wage war on the listener’s ears is nothing short of remarkable. True—this is nothing new to the band’s arsenal, yet, that doesn’t make the uncanny vocal range present on 1776 any less incredible. “The Color Green” starts off with a high pitched screech so earsplitting it’s hard to believe it comes from the same throat which lets loose with a guttural, persistent bellow throughout the rest of the track—and album. The constant switch from high, to harsh, beat-down styled mid, to fierce growl makes the moments where the vocals line up with the instrumentation to create a truly ferocious maelstrom of brutality veritably incredible.
The dynamic combination of newfound shred and good ol’ heavy on 1776 is tied together by the “cherry” on top of this patriotic, hard-hitting sundae which is the album’s constant lyrical theme. The vocals provide the perfect vessel for which the thought-provoking and stunningly written lyrics to reach their audience—and they do reach their audience. From the very beginning of “A Day Late…and A Dollar Short” to the very end of “Novus Ordo Seclorum,” the lyrics are intriguing and immersive, creating the politically-fueled fire which is King Conquer’s latest release. Furthermore, these lyrics—like the ones found driving the beast which is “Dead Last,” among others—give 1776 a characteristic which is new among those in King Conquer’s already extensive repertoire of releases—continuity. The persisting lyrical theme in each of the album’s tracks, and the synergistic effect that it provides makes 1776 more of an experience than the other albums King Conquer have put forth. Furthermore, this aspect adds depth to the album, which is much needed, as the somewhat frugal nine tracks on their own is barely enough for avid followers of the band, especially with three of them being released as singles over the nearly three-year wait.
Whether you’re engaged in politics or not, the lyrics to “Demoralized” say, they’re engaged in you—1776 makes damn sure of that. Even in the face of what many would have deemed an un-conquerable mountain of hype, King Conquer do just that with their latest album. Packed with technically infused, bone-slamming tracks comprised of stunning fretwork and pummeling percussion, 1776 is nothing short of revolutionary for fans of the band. The only thing left in the wake of King Conquer’s onslaught is a battered and broken listener—as the meager nine tracks isn’t quite enough to finish them off.
For Fans Of: Oceano, WolveXhys, Martyr Defiled, Thy Devourer
By: Connor Welsh