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Death Dealer - Conquered Lands Award winner

Death Dealer
Conquered Lands
by Jean-François Poulin at 21 October 2020, 11:50 AM

DEATH DEALER are a Power Metal Band from Encinitas, California. This is their third full-length album and first since 2015’s ‘’Hallowed Ground’’. The band is pretty much a Supergroup with members or former members of giants like SYMPHONY X, MANOWAR, CAGE and INTO ETERNITY. It’s a who’s who of Metal Masters joining together and making music and that always grabs my attention when you know the lineage of the band members in tow.

A few years back I was able to review the DENNER/SHERMANN album for Metal Temple. It was a foray for the former members of MERCYFUL FATE into something very familiar to their previous band. Their singer was Sean Peck, I didn’t know him at all but he really blew away on this album and I was able to find a bit of his discography afterwards and those CAGE albums are very good, rock solid American Power Metal albums. Last year we got the THREE TREMORS albums, the side project of Sean Peck, Tim Owens and Harry Conklin. It was a play on the Three Tenors and it was average at best, the cacophony of sounds between the dueling vocalists gave me some serious headaches. It was a good idea at the time but with the three singers singing at the same time, it was quite horrendous.

So now we got DEATH DEALER, something very similar to CAGE and yet grabbing some influences here and there from the all star band members. This might be something for the long run and not just a one off band left in the dust. The album starts off with some middle eastern sounds, akin to the ‘’Powerslave’’ album back in the mid 80’s. You can tell that they really enjoyed that Egyptian theme because the album cover is full-on inspired by the Demonic Pharaohs and the undead slaves carrying that Pharaoh around through the trenches of a dark and mysterious Egypt. Though, the first song seems to be the only one relating to that theme but it’s one hell of an opener. It’s your prototypical American Power Metal, nothing overly elaborate like their European counterparts. You got that catchy chorus and streamlined bass presence yet it’s quite apparent you have those early Thrash Metal influences in tow (think ‘’Fistful of Metal’’ by ANTHRAX).

‘’Every Nation’’ is just a Heavy Metal Anthem. This is the song they have to to play live when we are back to a semblance of reality. This song is all about unity, the Heavy Metal Community that are an army of one. There is no community like the Metal community, if we see someone go down in a pit, we help him up. We talk to each other during the shows even if we don’t know each other. Metal music unites us all and it doesn’t matter your race, religion, sex or age, Metal does not discriminate. Every Nation around the world has its Metal community and you rarely see any violence or pushing and shoving at concerts, there is a sense of respect between each and every one of us and it’s awesome.

Two other standout songs for me on this album were ‘’Running with the Wolves’’ and ‘’Conquered Lands’’.  ‘’Running with the Wolves’’ is about the connection the band has with their fans at shows. The band wants the fans to be loud and proud at shows, they feed off that pure energy. It talks about that wolfpack mentality, metal fans of the same band, that bond you have between yourselves and the band. It’s about having fun at a show, going all out and enjoying your favorite band live, no matter who it is. That’s the very basis of going to see a show, have fun, forget about your problems and just soak it all in.

‘’Conquered Lands’’ is about the influences of the past. It can be knowledge, pioneers in music and literature, those are the conquered lands of the past, things that can still influence us after all those years. You learn much more from the past to craft your present, your future. Sometimes you need to have a talk with yourself and think about the past, the conquered lands of your life to know where you are going obviously. The message is very strong on this song and this song would have fit right in with the ‘’Crucible’’ album by HALFORD back in 2002. The production of this album is way better than that 2002 offering that had some serious issues! It has that same guitar sound and that methodical and slower pace of that particular album. The title track is on point and shows the variety of songs they can offer.

Nothing against the rest of the songs that were really good even though ‘’The Heretic Has Returned’’ seemed to be a departure from the sound of the band. The slow rumbling of narration at the beginning was different but the song itself felt a bit rushed. It did sound like it could have been a B-Side of DENNER/SHERMANN, it has that sound and presence about it. I felt it was a bit out of place on the album, persay. ‘’Slay or be Slain’’ and ‘’Faith Under Fire’’ were clearly influenced by Ross the Boss and his years in MANOWAR. These songs have that anthemic feel about it and that 80’s style Heavy Metal aura about them.

An old school vibe with a terrific singer and all star band, you can’t go wrong. If you like Traditional Heavy Metal infused with some American Power Metal, this is something you can’t miss. An all out assault on the senses with some very positive messages thrown in and a rock solid approach to Heavy Metal.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Sorcerer Supreme
2. Every Nation
3. Beauty and the Blood
4. Running with the Wolves
5. The Heretic Has Returned
6. Conquered Lands
7. Hail to the King
8. Slay or Be Slain
9. Faith Under Fire
10. 22 Gone
11. Born to Bear the Crown
Lineup:
Sean Peck – Vocals
Stu Marshall – Guitars
Steve Bolognese – Drums
Ross the Boss – Guitars
Mike LePond – Bass
Record Label: Steel Cartel Records
     


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