Exousia's second album Welcome to the Kingdom of Light was my first exposure ever to this extreme metal band from Mexico. Impressive is one of the many words that I could use to describe that album. Needless to say, I was greatly anticipating hearing their third full length album Conquer.
Upon receiving this disc in the mail, the packaging immediately caught my eye. Great album cover, terrific band photos, the works. While that part was similar to their last album, it's the music that will really surprise you here. Conquer is definitely an album that will not grab you on first listen. Especially if you are used to the sound on Welcome to the Kingdom of Light. Give it time though, and you'll may end up being very pleased.
Yeah, there are similarities on this disc to their previous style, but they borrow heavily from a few of the mellower songs on their last album and really build off of that. Now, this is not just a whimpy, slow disc. What really comes forth by building on their mellower material is an incredibly emotional and melodic album. The heavy use of female vocals, dramatic guitar solos, and keyboards mixed in with the heavy guitars and death/black/thrash like vocals make for an album that you really need to listen all the way through to really grab the intensity of emotion that is coming out of these six Mexicans. To top all that off, their well-written lyrics are very Christ-centered and worshipful, so it's really nine songs of powerful music mixed with powerful meaning. Speaking of lyrics, about half the songs are sung in English and half in Spanish. But both languages are printed for every song.
At times you'll be rocking along and headbanging at a frantic pace like in the song "Victory", at other times they go doom on us like in the song "Martyrs", and at other times the atmospheric keyboards, acoustic guitars, and breathtaking female vocals will put you in a calm, trance like state like in the intro to "I Need You". It makes it sound like this is a band that really can't decide what they want to do. But in reality, this band know exactly what they are doing. This album is metal for sure. But this album is also beautiful. About the only thing that disappoints me a little is the slight drop in production quality. Nothing major compared to their last release, but not quite as good in my opinion.
If you are an impatient metal fan, I highly advise you to stay clear of this release. However, if you are open minded and love a band that is willing to go out on a limb a little bit, then prepare yourself for a band that does a fantastic job in combining headbanging with worship. (Review by Matt)