Artist: West Wall
Album Title: Conquest Or Death
This is the second full-length album from West Wall, an American band playing death metal.
The production on this album is much better than on Blitzkrieg Symphony #1 -- the guitar sound is crushingly heavy, the drums are crisp and resonant, the bass is just audible, and the growled vocals are right up front. The extra low-end on this record lends the songs plenty of impact.
The songwriting on this record is just a bit more complex and epic than on Blitzkrieg, but it's still squarely in the same vein -- catchy, aggressive death metal with hints of RAC (this band features Ed from Before God & Bound For Glory) and a good deal of influence from newer Bolt Thrower. The choruses and lead guitar lines are incredibly memorable. They'll get stuck in your head pretty much instantly, along with the catchy, headbangable riffing. The lyrics are quite insightful, also; few bands seem to write about the Vietnam War, but "Tunnel Rat" and "Fire In The Hole" bring the up-front, man-against-man nature of jungle combat to life. The other tracks are equally steeped in history: in one album you've got songs about the Battle of Vienna and the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest side-by-side with others which are less specific, and thus more resonant with today's challenges. All in all, this is one of the most meaningful death metal albums I've heard since Bolt Thrower's "Those Once Loyal" and Spearhead's "Decrowning the Irenarch". The message here is a lot more subtle than on the first record, yet no less potent for it... in fact, the heavier production and varied lyrics make this one an even better album than Blitzkrieg was!
The only complaint I could possibly make is that the album is a bit short, at just a bit over half an hour. I can listen to this on repeat for hours, though, so perhaps it's perfect as-is! Anyone who enjoys mid-paced death metal must hear this; it's by far the best new album I've heard in 2009. Fans of Bolt Thrower, Destroyer 666, Asphyx, or Bound For Glory will be especially pleased with it. Conquest Or Death earns my highest recommendations.
Standout Tracks: "Tunnel Rat", "Fire In The Hole", "Furore Teutonicus"