Conquest, Under the Influence
Every musician, every band starts out with influences. For Conquest’s Derrick Brumley that started out with the likes of The Who, Black Sabbath and seminal albums from two superstar acts of the 70’s – Foghat‘s ‘Live’ and ‘Captain Fantastic. Brumley found himself drawn to those records largely due to the guitar work on each. “I leaned towards the heavy side of those records,” he recalls. “Not any one record at that time in my life but I really like the heavy guitars from these bands.”
Conquest was formed in late 1988 by Brumley, along with Tony Restivo, Tim Fleetwood and Adrian Vesper. The quartet played around the St. Louis area, building a local following and releasing a series of demos, flirting with several metal subgenres before realizing that their future was based in traditional thrash music of the Bay Area variety and independently releasing their debut effort, ‘Wicked Ways’ in 1993 and the Ep ‘The Killing Time’ eighteen months later. In 1995 Vesper exited the band to be replaced by Mike Crook and shortly thereafter the band released their third effort, ‘Rage’ via the Greek label, Unisound and then ‘Damnation’ in 2001.
2003 saw the independent release of ‘No Boundaries’ and a full scale US tour undertaking 70 dates in all to support the album. “We put in a bunch of hard work that year,” reminisces Brumley. “We hit the entire Midwest down to Texas and then up and down the East Coast a few times. We did several runs, I just wish we could have gotten further west but there are no complaints.”
Armed with a new label deal with Dark Star Records and a partnership with Jagermeister Music, Conquest found themselves playing the Rockstar Mayhem festival as well as support slots alongside Slayer, Hatebreed, Shadows Fall and others. 2011 saw the release of the 9/11 tribute single, “Never Forget,” which was (the band’s tribute to America and then 2013’s ‘The War We Rage’ breaking even more ground for the band, as well as introducing current bass player, Rob Boyer.
In 2014 Conquest decided to add an additional set (sometimes two) to their shows paying tribute to their metal heroes, calling it Tribute to the Metal Gods, covering the likes of Iron Maiden, Metallica, Pantera and Slayer. With this concept the band decided it would be a great idea to record an entire album paying tribute to a batch of hard rock and metal legends. “We decided to do this as a fun little sidestep,” Brumley explains. “Most cover bands play Top 40 stuff but we decided to honour the bands that set the bar for metal music.”
Derrick Brumley runs down each song on under the Influence and why Conquest chose to cover them:
JUDAS PRIEST – Metal Gods: I’ve been a fan of Judas Priest since I was 11 or 12 and “Metal Gods” is one of their staples. Since I’m such a huge fan I wanted to do one of their most identifying songs without picking an overly obvious one.
JUDAS PRIEST – The Ripper: One of my all time favourite songs. When I first heard this song on ‘Unleashed in the East” I was completely blown away.
IRON MAIDEN – Wrathchild: I discovered Iron Maiden early on and while I never cared much for Paul Dianno‘s voice, this track always stood out for me. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to play live.
METALLICA – For Whom the Bell Tolls: Our label, Dark Star, strongly suggested we cover this and since it’s a part of our ‘Tribute …’ set it made complete sense.
MOTORHEAD – Ace of Spades: All four of us came to the conclusion that you can’t put out a hard rock / metal tribute album and not cover the mighty Motorhead.
ANTHRAX – Antisocial: This is a cover of a cover (the original from French band Trust) which was kinda cool to me. To take a song that’s been covered very well already and still add your own spin to it is a cool thing if you can bring it. And I think we did.
UFO – Lights Out in London: The band feels that UFO never got their due so we wanted to cover what Rob and I thought was such a heavy song as kids.
BON JOVI – Wanted, Dead or Alive: We’re lucky to have a few tracks from our previous albums on soundtracks for the various Jezebeth movies, including the latest one, The Guns of El Diablo, for which we decided to cover Bon Jovi‘s “Wanted, Dead Or Alive.” It was fun to work on making it heavier than the original but not change it completely. I have to admit, this one was one hell of a challenge.
MOTLEY CRUE – Red Hot: Motley was a big influence on me as a teenager. I got into them in .83 with the release of ‘Shout at the Devil’ – great hard rock songs with metal overtones. This was such a cool double bass, guitar driving song.
PANTERA – Cowboys from Hell: From my point of view these guys saved metal in the ’90’s. Mike worked his ass off on the guitar parts and he did a great job on it. Another great song to play live.
BLACK SABBATH – Children of the Grave: These guys started it all. When I was 7 or 8 my brother’s girlfriend brought over their first album and I was completely blown away! She ended up leaving it at our house and it became mine. “Children ..” is the one song that has stuck with me over the years.
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