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Review: The Reign of Terror - Conquer & Divide
The Reign of Terror
Conquer & Divide

Label: Leviathan Records
Year released: 2002
Tracks: 10
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: April 29, 2003
Reviewed by: Scott Murray
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.57/5 (71.43%) (7 Votes)

Sometimes it’s just too easy to call something mediocre. Other times it’s hard because the potential is there, but there is something that can’t be put into words that’s just lacking. The latter I’d say is the case with the latest effort from The Reign of Terror, guitar virtuoso Joe Stump’s full band project. Taking the old formulas of the NWOBHM sound and song-writing and adding organ notes along the fast-paced riffiness characterizes the bulk of the material on Conquer and Divide. The album just can’t help but reek of standardization in its inability to come into its own as an individual. Even the standout performance of Stump is often watered down through the use of distortion, sonic pitch alterations and other effects that take away from what could have been some classic clean guitar soloing.

Vocal wise, and all supporting instruments for that matter, offer up solid showings, but again never manage to add some much-needed character to the ranks of The Reign of Terror. The expected power vocals and no-need to mention bass and drum performances almost make this out to be just another showcase for Stump’s talents rather than trying to push the whole group forwards. I don’t think this is done intentionally, as the solos seem to act within the confines of the songs and never give the impression that Stump is trying to show off.

The strength of the band lies in their knack for creating catchy choruses that really stick to your ears long after the song has ended. Choruses can seem to make up just as much of the songs as verses, and then follow them up with a lengthy solo and there’s plenty of space to forget how the song sounded at one point or another.

A solid release but I think Stump’s band mates need to kick things up a notch or two if they’re going to have any staying power.

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