Vanquisher is a power metal band from Sweden formed in 2014, releasing their debut album ‘An Age Undreamed Of’ in 2022…
…featuring a lyrical theme surrounding the short stories about Conan The Barbarian and the Hyborian Age by American writer Robert E. Howard – is regarded as the father of the sword and sorcery subgenre. Which is exactly the style and image of the Swedish five-piece from Malmo – the new album coming to life with the two-minute tension fuelled and anticipation-filled ‘Nemedian Chronicle’…setting an epic atmosphere, as the band enters the realms of anthemic and glory metal with (album opener proper) ‘The Pride Of Aquilonia’. Moving forward at a mid-tempo pace, ‘The Pride Of Aquilonia’ is rooted firmly in the heavy metal genre, highly melodic and fairly anthemic – with an almost rabble-rousing and call-to-arms feel. Picking up the pace and injecting a fair amount of energy, the band storm on with ‘Storming Venarium’, a thundering epic that retains the storytelling atmosphere set at the album’s beginning. And I have a feeling that the rest of ‘An Age Undreamed Of’ is gonna unfold as one long story, full of atmosphere and tension.
Sounds of warriors in battle, sets ‘Ode To The Slain’ on its way, a majestic march of heavy foot stomping metal. A foot stomp that retains the band’s storytelling approach to ‘An Age Undreamed Of’ – Vanquisher aiming for a Manowar, kind of Sabaton sound and feels, and to be fair, they’re getting there! Everyone has to start somewhere, and Vanquisher has made a fairly good start. The album is loaded with sound effects of war, battle, horses, and soldiers, ‘Reaver’ no exception! The band increases the thunder, fire, and brimstone, pushing ‘Reaver’ on with a heaviness not heard so far, the classic galloping style of heavy metal making its presence felt. Followed by a mellowness that comes abruptly out of nowhere, ‘Cimmeria’ sees the album take a hymn-like direction. At the mid-point of the album, ‘Cimmeria’ is an epic and bold stroll of hymn-like balladry – the knife-edge tension almost palpable. The mid-tempo heavy foot stomping returns with a vengeance in the mighty shape of ‘Trapped On Shamu’s Plain’. The heaviest song heard so far, the band switches gear at one and a half minutes, ‘Trapped On Shamu’s Plain’ becoming an aggressive and urgent fuelled romp.
The glorious sound of power-driven heavy metal fills the air, courtesy of ‘Battleborn’ – a Manowar-ish style thunderstorm. The pace and urgency of ‘Battleborn’ are electric, fusing energy and pizzazz to create one of my favorite songs from the album. Vanquisher getting it just right with this one! The recent upturn in pace and power remains in full flight with the thunderous ‘Savage Sword’ – now becoming the heaviest and fastest song heard so far. The latter half of the album emanates a more menacing and err, savage nature. And oh what a glorious NWOBHM-inspired guitar riff that sets ‘Priests Of Set’ on its way – just sublime! Building to a crescendo ‘Priests Of Set’ maintains the bluff and bluster of ‘An Age Undreamed Of’s second half. Powering on with purpose and intent, ‘Priests Of Set’ is loaded with tempo changes and gear shifts galore. Bringing the album to a close is the eight minutes plus ‘Serpent God’ – opening with a spoken word intro, slowly building into a mighty foot stomp, all the while maintaining the incredible storytelling vibe that has run through the album from start to finish.
Overall, an anthemic-styled storytelling journey, heavily sprinkled with elements of the epic and glory styles of metal.
The Pride Of Aquilonia
Ode To The Slain
Trapped On Shamu’s Plain
Priests Of Set
Release Year: 2022
Label: Stormspell Records
Reviewed by Iron Mathew for Frenzy Fire, and Metal-Roos.