Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Monday, November 29, 2021

Review: Death Dealer – Conquered Lands

Label: Steel Cartel Records

Date: November 13th, 2020

There are two things I hate the most, adding to someone’s name “epithet” ex-band name-singer-guitarist-vocalist. Same as with Blaze Bayley, who somehow it seems will always be signed as ex Iron Maiden singer, Ross will remain ex Manowar guitarist. Although before Manowar era Mr. Friedman was established in the music world as a founding member of the punk band The Dictators and since he left Manowar passed long three decades, Ross is still Manowar’s ex. The man is an institution and no ex former or whatever is absolutely unnecessary. Ok, done with frustrations, bite for a review!

Five years passed since “Hallowed Ground” was released (Sweden Music Group Records, 2015). Death Dealer will deliver the third album “Conquered Lands” on November 13th, 2020. Sean Peck remained vocalist, Stu Hammer Marshall is on guitars, Steve Bolognese on drums while Mike Davis is replaced by Mike Lepond, Ross’s combat mate since 2016.

Traditional heavy metal is the foundation of “Conquered Lands”. To keep the structures stable, Death Dealer added thrash and power metal with the goal of making 11 stable songs. As an album tease, Death Dealer released a month ago lyric video for “Sorcerer Supreme”. The perfect choice: pounding drums, addictive riffs, powerful vocals… If you need more, as I hear, and as I know, the song is inspired by Marvel Comics and Doctor (Stephen) Strange.

Death Dealer seems to use drums as a lethal weapon on this album. The first five songs are faster than lightning and then the band slows down a bit with the title song “Conquered Lands” right in the middle of the album. But no worries, the next one “Hail to the Kings” brings back the life with fantastic potential anthem, in Manowar style. If you thought there is no space for ballads here, I have to remind you that the best metal songs are ballads and without it, whether you like it or not, the metal album is not complete. “Born to Bear the Crown” masterfully closes the third Death Dealer’s long awaited album.

When you gather established musicians, who have massive projects and long history behind, hardly you can expect a bad album. This album is explosive, fast tempo moves the laziest asses, traditional heavy metal is accelerated with power and thrash infusion, high pitched well articulated screams are supported by powerful choruses…

Mr. Friedman’s experience, status and reputation give him a privilege to gather the best musicians around his projects. He did it once again and proved who is the boss! 

Personal favorites: “Running With The Wolves” which exudes the spirit of old times, each narrative part (“Beauty And The Blood” and “The Heretic Has Returned”) and the ballad “22 Gone”.