Conquering Dystopia – Conquering Dystopia (Self-Released)

Wednesday, 19th March 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

Most magic is found by accident, in music or life otherwise. Such is certainly the case with the story behind Conquering Dystopia and its all-star cast. Born from fan-want thanks to online instructional videos, the album is a tour-de-force of instrumentation, song-writing (as much as can be expected given the instrumental and semi-shredding nature of the band) and many glorious layers. If this is the kind of magic that can result from crowd-funding in the metal world between juggernauts, then by all means, may the trend catch on.

And what magic seethes from the nigh-hour runtime of this beast, whether espoused through jazzy atmospheres in “Tethys” or acoustic/shred-melancholy “Lachrymose” or the blistering wall of sound that is “Inexhaustible Savagery”. Though the shred history that’s provided by the pedigree through the involvement of Loomis is readily apparent at any given time, it’s only occasionally a dominating factor. For an instrumental album Conquering Dystopia is surprisingly varied, covering a variety of moods and flavors from across the spectrum of modern extreme ends, especially from the death metal and ‘djent’ areas, though belonging in whole to neither for very long.

Foregoing the need to have a faceless vocalist vomit harsh vocals overtop the otherwise stellar instrumentation only adds to the fantastic song-writing, being one of many ways the band avoids the failures of so many who try to play this style. The other? There is zero aimless wankery, nothing overstays its welcome or runs longer than it should (no mean feat given the length of the album). Though explosive at times Loomis is nevertheless incredibly restrained throughout, never playing outlandishly beyond the means of the music surrounding him (granted, not that it’d be wholly possible with the other members: Alex Webster, Alex Rüdinger, and Keith Marrow). Each member excels at different times and sometimes in shockingly intense ways but in the end it all comes back to serving the flow of the particular song and to this end the band excels.

Conquering Dystopia
is something this genre has needed for a long time.

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