Death Dealer – “Conquered Lands” (Steel Cartel)
Battle Helm Rating
A powerhouse made up of Sean Peck (Cage, Denner / Shermann, The Three Tremors), Ross The Boss (Manowar), guitarist Stu Marshall (Dungeon, Night Legion) and drummer Steve Bolognese (Into Eternity, Ross The Boss band), Death Dealer are now joined by new bassist Mike LePond (Symphony X, Ross The Boss band)! Over the course of two prior albums, tours across Europe and Asia along with festival appearances, this super group have made their mark through their no-nonsense high energy epic heavy metal. Now, on “Conquered Lands”,Death Dealer issue the ultimate challenge to the pandemic through 11 tracks of pure molten metal with the absolute purpose of invigorating and strengthening their fans through the positive energy of their music – and brother, does it rock as everyone is shredding on ten! Opening placidly enough, ‘Beauty And The Blood’ then explodes amid an eruption of double bass drums and fast riffing guitars as Peck’s soaring sopranos hit the highs before momentarily settling into the serenity of neo classical scaling before becoming heavier, driven by LePond’s rumbling bass as the assault begins once more. I love the sound on this album which captures the natural energy of the instruments, while giving equal measure to their contributions, such that LePond’s aforementioned bass isn’t just throwing its weight in the background of the mix, but also generously adds to the side fills of the overall sound – most impressive indeed. Bringing in some majestic melodies to add to the symphonic grace of the riff shredding ‘Slay Or Be Slain’, Ross and Stu duel it out with their chainsaw axes as Peck wails the chorus line ‘…slay or be slain, all resistance is in vain…’ although it’s the flamboyant neo classical and wild heavy metal solos that really do the number here in bringing the song to boil – and your blood with it! Even faster is ‘Faith Under Fire’ with Peck’s throat reaching breaking point through his stratospheric screams and powering highs driven by Bolognese’s pistoning double bass stampede, even more shredding axe work rolling in regal melodies and joined by LePond’s equally dexterous bass lines on what must be the most intense track of this third album. Guaranteed to energise even a zombie, this all-star heavy metal roster couldn’t have brought its collective talents to bear on more nobler a cause.