Let’s take a trip back to the Mypace days when genres like metalcore didn’t have subreddits to be debated over and most bands were considered heavy because their melodic choruses were paralleled by unclean verses deemed as “screamo.” In these golden days of internet music finds we received bands like Attack Attack! (the American one) who wowed us with these conventions that became so overdone everyone felt the need to move on from them. However, seven years after the hay day of MySpace, it seems that signature sound has returned.
Meet Conquer Divide, an all girl metalcore band who took to a throwback sound when creating their debut self-titled release. Produced by the acclaimed metalcore guru, Joey Sturgis, Conquer Divide would have been a force to be reckoned with if it had only come out about a decade earlier. From the djenty riffs of “Self Destruct” to the classic breakdown employed in “Nightmares,” Conquer Divide nail the unclean verse/clean chorus formula right on the head. It’s a tried and true method, but a method we have all seen a dozen and one times.
While singles like “Eyes Wide Shut” were the first tracks to get Conquer Divide put on the map, they tend to be the most forgettable on the album due to their rather basic natures. Safer tracks are completely blown away by heavier, and more raw moments like the unclean vocal anchor on “Lost” which develops elements that are both catchy and forceful without feeling overworked.
Tamara Tadic’s drumming thankfully sets the pace for the entire record. While she may rely a bit too heavily on bland double bass pedal tropes, she shines in other aspects such as her use of rolling build ups in the seven minute epic “Broken.” Strategic song structures, too, help highlight the drums over soft, and almost gentle, clean vocals as “What’s Left Inside” is characterized by the steady bass drum back beat highlighted throughout the track.
The songs that comprise Conquer Divide are solid musical works, however the beautiful vocal pairings (“Heavy Lies The Crown”) alongside melodic choruses and heavy leads (“Despicable You”)just feel dated. The technical skill and production quality make Conquer Divide a truly fine record, but a record without any remarkable innovation. Now that Conquer Divide have their feet planted in the music scene, though, they may have more room to branch out and create something spectacular next time around. (Natasha Van Duser)