This may be the oldest, most well-seasoned band that I am more than a little PO’ed about not crossing paths with earlier. These beasts should have had my attention for freaking years now! Once I heard Conquest though, I will not be forgetting them anytime soon…Formed in 1988 by Derrick Brumley (lead vocals, guitar), Tony Restivo (bass), Tim Fleetwood (drums) and Adrian Vesper (guitar, vocals) as a result of heavy, guitar-based bands like Black Sabbath, The Who and Foghat. Conquest began playing in and around the St. Louis area garnering fans and dropping multiple, self-produced demos along the way. After dipping their toes into many forms of Metal, Conquest decided to stick with what they are best at: straight-forward, Bay Area style Thrash. By 1995, Conquest had released “Wicked Ways” (1993) and their EP “The Killing Time” a year and a half later. After replacing Vesper with Mike Crook, they released “Rage” (1997) on the Greek label, Unisound and after replacing bassist Restivo with Robert Lloyd, “Damnationon” was released in 2001. In 2003, Conquest took to the road for 70 stops down the Mid-West, through Texas and up and down the East Coast a few times after the success of their independent CD, “No Boundaries”. This success earned the band a partnership with Jagermeister Music allowing them to share the stage with the likes of Slayer, Hatebreed, Shadows Fall and many others at the Rockstar Mayhem Festival. By 2005, Tony Restivo returned to the Conquest and they began working on “End of Days” which was released on Dark Star Records in 2008 and followed in 2010 with their EP “First Blood”. In 2011, the band released its single “Never Forget” as a tribute to the 9/11 and the greatness of the United States. Two years later, “The War We Rage” came out with the introduction of current bass player Rob Boyer to very favorable critical and fan reviews. By 2014, Conquest began sometimes adding one or more additional sets to their shows they called Tribute to the Gods, covering songs done by idols and influences like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera and Slayer. Taking the next logical step, Conquest released “Under the Influence”, again on the Dark Star label in 2015. Derrick Brumley: “We decided to do this as a fun little sidestep. Most cover bands play Top 40 stuff but we decided to honor the bands that set the bar for Metal music.” Song list as published in Conquest’s press kit by Brumley and brief descriptions of song choice for “Under the Influence”:
Judas Priest – Metal Gods: I’ve been a fan of Judas Priest since I was 11 or 12 and “Metal Gods” is one of their staples. Since I’m such a huge fan I wanted to do one of their most identifying songs without picking an overly obvious one.
Judas Priest – The Ripper: One of my all time favorite songs. When I first heard this song on ‘Unleashed in the East” I was completely blown away.
Iron Maiden – Wrathchild: I discovered Iron Maiden early on and while I never cared much for Paul Dianno’s voice, this track always stood out for me. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to play live.
Metallica – For Whom the Bell Tolls: Our label, Dark Star, strongly suggested we cover this and since it’s a part of our ‘Tribute…‘ set it made complete sense.
Motorhead – Ace of Spades: All four of us came to the conclusion that you can’t put out a hard Rock/Metal tribute album and not cover the mighty Motorhead.
Anthrax – Antisocial: This is a cover of a cover (the original from French band Trust) which was kinda cool to me. To take a song that’s been covered very well already and still add your own spin to it is a cool thing if you can bring it. And I think we did.
UFO – Lights Out in London: The band feels that UFO never got it due so we wanted to cover what Rob and I thought was such a heavy song as kids.
Bon Jovi – Wanted, Dead or Alive: We’re lucky to have a few tracks from our previous
albums on soundtracks for the various Jezebeth movies, including the latest one, The Guns of El Diablo, for which we decided to cover Bon Jovi’s “Wanted, Dead Or Alive.” It was fun to work on making it heavier than the original but not change it completely. I have to admit, this one was one hell of a challenge.
Motley Crue – Red Hot: Motley was a big influence on me as a teenager. I got into them in ‘83 with the release of ‘Shout at the Devil‘ – great hard rock songs with metal overtones. This was such a cool double bass, guitar driving song.
Pantera – Cowboys from Hell: From my point of view these guys saved metal in the ’90’s. Mike worked his ass off on the guitar parts and he did a great job on it. Another great song to play live.
Black Sabbath – Children of the Grave: These guys started it all. When I was 7 or 8 my brother’s girlfriend brought over their first album and I was completely blown away! She ended up leaving it at our house and it became mine. “Children…” is the one song that has stuck with me over the years.
I have been listening to all of Conquest’s material and cannot get enough. They have that heavy, melodic and musical sound that is the crown jewel of Thrash along with audible lyrics that are sung instead of growled, screamed or barked; and Brumley‘s vocal prowess is truly astounding. It would be a huge mistake to dismiss Conquest as a “been there, done that” band because this is not some stuck-in-the-past, copy-cat wanna be band. Quite the opposite. This is true, traditional Thrash with complex, blistering guitar work and rhythms found on Megadeth, Iron Maiden and Flotsam and Jetsam albums while having the heavier, Modern Metal sound like early Trivium or Killswitch Engage. A perfect symbiosis of old and new that is set in the mold of neither. Conquest’s sound is undeniably theirs and serves as a Metalhead Utopia where everyone can agree on the sheer greatness of this band to all but the fringes of our musical genre. Conquest has played with an array of bands such as: Slayer, Iced Earth, Superjoint Ritual, Children of Bodom, Quiet Riot, Testament, Bullet Boys, Overkill, Dokken, Iron Maiden, WASP, Poison, Napalm Death, Slashes Snakepit, Savatage, Manowar, Fates Warning, Rob Halford, Morbid Angel, Queensrych, Flotsam and Jetsam, Prong, Great White, Yngwie J. Malmsteen, George Lynch, Lacuna Coil, Stone Sour, Shadows Fall, Hatebreed and many more. There are very, very few bands that could successfully play to the fans of savage bands like Morbid Angel and Napalm Death; Pop Metal bands like Dokken and Bullet Boys; traditional Thrash bands like Slayer and Overkill and still be able to entertain the crowd for Modern Metal giants like Stone Sour and Shadows Fall. I mean, could you image Poison opening for Hatebreed? Yeah, me either… Conquest is the Metal chameleon that kicks everyone’s asses!