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Album Reviews : Silent Knight – Conquer & Command

By on October 27, 2015

Conquer & Command artworkOpening with a beautifully melodic guitar overture in “Call to Arms”, before long we hit full thrust with the title track, in an album that only seems to grow stronger with each new song that follows. Perth’s Silent Knight are a band I have been following since the release of their debut record ‘Masterplan’ in 2013 simply blew me away. Never had I heard a power metal band from Australia that held true to that ’80s Euro-power metal sound as well as this one did. After seeing the unfortunate leave of original vocalist Zoran Cunjak in August of last year, Silent Knight returned in force shorty after with their EP ‘Power Metal Supreme’, which, among featuring the preview song “Prisoner of Your World” (which features fully on this record), also showed off for the first time their now current frontman, Jesse Onur Oz. Come 2015, with Jesse having well proven himself by this point, and their old drummer and band founder Paul Wrigley having returned as well, to say I was excited for this album would be an understatement. The results are nothing less than stellar, with every other member of Silent Knight giving their all to this record.

Every moment of ‘Conquer & Command’ seems to pull Silent Knight to another level. As a band, they feel more matured and seasoned on this record: which in itself is an impressive feat considering this is only their second full-length album. Songs such as “Empty Threat” demonstrate a new side to the band, one willing to experiment a bit more in their arrangements; building up strong moments of tension that culminate in a flurry of riffs and pounding drum work. The rolling drums of “The Strike of the Sword” that explodes into an impressive scream by Jesse is one of the best examples on this record at how far Jesse has come as a vocalist since he first debuted as a part of the new line up last year. Coupled with the relentless one-two punch of the guitars and drums, courtesy of Stu McGill, Cameron Nicholas, and Wrigley, that bridge especially is excellent. The simplicity, yet effectiveness of the lead-in guitar lick, that then quiets to a lull, where you’re allowed a moment to sway along with Jesse’s enchanting voice, builds to this rapturous moment that brings the song full circle. While Jesse seemed to struggle a little with a few of these higher notes, his continual progress as a vocalist and how far he’s come already in a short space of time leaves great room here and a promise for overall improvement. That one moment was really the only weak point I can say about this album.

Drummer Paul Wrigley is a worthy point of mention, with his drumming really carrying the hefty weight of this band’s very strong rhythm section; one further strengthened by Cameron Daw’s underlining bass work. Wrigley’s efforts are especially noticeable on the brilliant track that is “The Raven’s Return”, a song which sounds like old school Helloween, set into overdrive. Heightened by the virtuoso soloing of Cameron Nicholas, Wrigley’s drumming adds an extra few essential bolts and rivets to the mighty tank that this band has become.

One of the biggest aspects that separates ‘Conquer & Command’ from its predecessor is that where ‘Masterplan’ was largely comprised of heavily melodic tunes in keeping with the troubled general found on that album’s cover art, here, the band have fully embraced the high-octane energy of the elder, dragon-taming wizard that adorns the new album cover. It’s one heck of a shift, and really brings out a side to this band that I knew they already had to them, but had never quite expected to be thrown back with as much fervour as I was. Even with album closer “Power Metal Supreme”, Silent Knight pull out all the stops to create a modern day power metal anthem; one that I see building a strong following at shows to come.

And how can we forget the brilliant cover that back ends this record? A cover of Europe’s legendary song, “The Final Countdown”. Here, the keys are perfectly swapped out for an ever welcomed dose of Cameron Nicholas-brand shredding. Peppered with the band’s own unique spin on the song, it’s as fun a cover to listen as it is a showing of the production value on this album, which, like the album itself, is nothing less than stellar.

You can purchase Conquer & Command now via Silent Knight’s official Big Cartel page.

About

Jonathon is an aspiring fantasy/sci-fi novelist and music journalist. Thanks to the influence of the music he grew up with, he has always possessed a keen interest in metal and rock. He is also a huge fan of mythology, legend, and folklore from all across the world. You should follow him on Twitter.