HALCYON WAY – Conquer
The fourth album from Atlanta, Georgia’s Halcyon Way "Conquer" is another testament to the developing sonic outlook and songwriting for this quintet. Straddling the lines of modern, progressive metal, the 12 songs continue to employ a dual clean/ death vocal outlook (shared between main singer Steve Braun and lead guitarist Jon Bodan) and appear to emphasis immediacy in terms of hooks and strong groove-like foundations.
Normally I would worry about an act that would want to incorporate heavier, dark tones and power tempos in line with Disturbed or Sevendust, but when the majority of the riffing has this progressive, passionate platform and the main melodies are of a multi-octave low to high clarity, you know Halcyon Way can blend the two divergent styles without much trouble attracting a wider audience. Testament circa "The Gathering" comes to the forefront when you take in drummer Ernie Topran’s punishing double bass and circular snare/ tom action on early highlight "Conceived in Torment" – the vocals also mirroring a lot of Chuck Billy’s latest roaring antics. Max Eve and Jon are a formidable axe duo – adept at moving from heads down semi-thrash riffs to more open progressive chord construction on another shape shifting favorite "World Comes Undone".
Steve Braun’s knack for the right phrasing and multi-part chorus harmonies drives home the rhythmically moving "Hatred Is My Cause" and Nevermore-ish "King of Ruin" – as I feel like he’s taken the natural seasoning you experience through multiple North American tours and apply it to make changes for the better out of your own original material. Keeping famed artist Travis Smith and producer Lasse Lammert in the Halcyon Way fold means you can expect high quality in all facets of the eyes and ears experience.
Having had the chance to witness the band live last year opening for U.D.O., you can tell they are ascending up the touring ranks – and "Conquer" should continue their appeal for fans of modern progressive metal.