I have my dear friend Brian Matus to thank for HALCYON WAY. He advised me to listen to them some time ago. I did and was an instant fan. You know how sometimes you discover a band and they’re between albums? I hate that because it seems like the wait for the next one is forever. Well the day is finally upon us as HALCYON WAY are set to release their newest record Conquer on August 19 via Nightmare Records / Massacre Records. I did an interview with singer Steve Braun not too long ago and I told him how excited I was for this, and he was pretty amped up about it as well, with good reason. On this album the band finds itself melding progressive and classic metal with some heavier elements as well and the results are undeniably ballsy as well as catchy. This is one of those discs that you just leave on repeat as a different gem catches your attention every single time.
The first ones that jumped up and bit me were “Home” with its gorgeous vocal harmonies and chugging riffs, “World Comes Undone” with Braun’s snarling delivery on the verses, Ernie Topran’s lockdown drumming throughout, and lead guitarist Jon Bodan’s death growls, and “Militant” with its shades of vintage QUEENSRYCHE. This is also the first song I ran around for two days singing nonstop. Bodan and Max Eve put some twin guitar greatness on display, and bassist Skyler Moore comes in behind them and just welds it all together like a big fucking metal plate. And speaking of hooks…fuckin’ hell, “Hatred Is My Cause” has arguably the best mix of cleans vs. death growls on the whole thing. What also comes through is the varied influences, as the band themselves have said, everything from STRYPER to TESTAMENT shows up on this tune.
The guitar guys really seem to be having fun on “Save Your Tears” laying down thick tones with some pinched harmonic, something I can never get enough of; it’s one of the angrier cuts that spits venom, and has my favorite solo as well. And they REALLY go to town on “King of Ruin” another one of this record’s best. First single “Web of Lies” is very much a smack in the mouth from the first note and album opener “Conquer” invites us in with some tribal drumming then proceeds to put our collective heads through the wall. Clearly on this, album number four, HALCYON WAY means business, and Gods help those who stand in their way. The heavier side of prog rears its head on “Conceived in Torment”, again with Topran steering the ship through the choppy waters. The band lightens things up just a hair on “The Poisoned Apple” but by no means does it lack the same bite as the rest of the tracks.
A more traditional metal sound encapsulates “Every Second Counts” and closer “Eviscerate the Morning Sun” administers one more beating before sending us on our way. One of the things I love most about HALCYON WAY is the fact that they are a hybrid of varying styles of metal, managing to keep things fresh and unexpected. I truly believe that when Conquer makes its way into everyone’s ears it will be a huge success for them, and rightfully so. I already know it won’t leave my truck for weeks, maybe months. Any metalhead worth his or her horns needs to pick this one up posthaste!
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM