Metalcore is a very tricky style of music for me. I say that because in all my years of listening to heavy music I can count on one hand the number of bands of this ilk that I actually enjoy, like, truly enjoy. Bands whose albums I have given more than just the cursory three or four spins, savvy? Two that immediately come to mind are A BREACH OF SILENCE and TEXAS IN JULY (R.I.P.), and now I can add a third to that list: CONQUER DIVIDE. Their self-titled Artery Recordings debut has been out for a while now, so I’m a little late to the party on this group. Made up of six powerhouse ladies from the U.S. and UK, they have been working their asses off to cultivate their sound, and it shows.
The combination of singing and screaming is well-balanced on tracks like the opener “Sink Your Teeth Into This” featuring Denis Stoff of ASKING ALEXANDRIA and “Nightmares,” two of my favorites right away. Never once does the band overdo it on either, something that makes the album very easy to enjoy from start to finish. “Self Destruct” has a wonderful guitar melody that radiates throughout and a killer chorus, while “Eyes Wide Shut” has a ton of get-up-and-go, and is one of the more melodic tracks, but with a side order of heavy scream. On “Lost” you can really feel how tight and cohesive the band is as a unit, and it’s a piledriver of a song.
The newest single “What’s Left Inside” is one of those songs that should be all over the airwaves. It’s a tad more accessible than the others, but not at the expense of the very personal message or the intensity of the music. “At War” starts out on the mellow side then kicks you up the ass with a vengeance for almost four minutes, and then we come to my absolute favorite, “Despicable You.” This tune is reminiscent of VEIL OF MAYA, another band I love, so my ears stood at attention right away. The chorus is powerful and biting, too; just the way I like it.
“Heavy Lies the Crown” is definitely the most ambitious number on the disc, and there is a fuck-ton of stuff going on with the guitars, bass, drums, and vocals. Your head might be spinning when you finish it, and that’s OK. Just play it again and enjoy the ride. Closer “Broken” employs some nice vocal harmonies and is another one that takes a walk on the melodic side. When all is said and done this is an outstanding debut album. CONQUER DIVIDE will be major players for a long time if they keep putting out songs like this. You mark my words, this band is the real deal, and this should no doubt be a part of your collection in 2016 if it isn’t already..
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Despicable You”, “Sink Your Teeth Into This”, “Nightmares”, “Self Destruct”, “What’s Left Inside”