Rocka Rollas: Conquer

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Rocka Rollas: Conquer
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Rocka Rollas: Conquer
Heavy Metal, Power Metal
StormSpell Records
December 3rd, 2012
Release length: 20:34
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Rocka Rollas is a Swedish Heavy Metal and Power Metal group that has only been active since 2011. That very year, the group has issued a demo recording, which was followed-up with their debut full-length, The War of Steel Has Begun, issued through StormSpell Records. Once again, the label backs the band for a four song EP of new material titled Conquer. But, clocking in at just over twenty and a half minutes in length, does this old-school group make much of an impact in the Metal world of today, or is this effort just too generic or cliche for it’s own good?

The production quality to Conquer isn’t anything too astounding, but it does sound pretty heavy in a crisp, digital format. The guitars have a decent bluntness to them that works as well in the galloping sections as it does everywhere else. The bass guitar doesn’t really stick out too much, but its mid-level output works to maintain the rhythm ane keep the album somewhat grounded. The cymbals sound fantastic against the deep click of the bass kicks, as well as tighter, often lower snap of the snares as well. Finally, there’s the clean singing which is just a little louder than the music so it can be heard without straining yourself.

There isn’t that much to really say about this EP. In a way, it’s your typical Metal Worship effort, and it’s pretty catchy. Unfortunately, there’s nothing too unique or addicting about the first half. “Bloodbath” starts things off with some strong leads against a catchy mid-pace performance that brings in some traditional two-stepping with a strong Manowar-esque influence overall. The chorus featured background layered vocals that act as harmonized gang chants behind the lead vocals, and the guitar solo that follows is a nice touch. “Conquer” moves a little slower, but the vocals carry more energy then the music ends up having. The atmosphere definitely carries a bit of a glorious vibe to it, but again, there’s just nothing all that appealing or different, staying more a “by-the-books” composition. The extended guitar solo, however, does sound fantastic and is one of the most stand out areas next to the richer, upbeat music towards the conclusion.

While the first two seem a little more on the traditional side of things, the last two are easily the most impressive. “Riding the Metal Storm” carries a bit of a Folk touch to it similar to “Conquer,” this time in the riffs of the chorus. This is when the music becomes a lot richer, as well as absolutely infectious against the cleaner leads with the singing that maintains the general pitch, as well as a more energetic performance. The main verses, however, are just heavier, adding a bit of a darker atmosphere that suits the catchier chorus without fault. This is nicely wrapped up with the instrumental track “Steelwheeler,” which finds a much tighter, faster performance. Sadly, it only lasts two minutes and ten seconds, but it’s well worth sitting through, and even skipping ahead to experience. Again, there’s a long guitar solo throughout the track, which sounds fantastic, especially when it acts more like lead hooks certain spots, giving it a neo-classical touch that the pounding snares and double bass kicks will have you banging your head along to. While not that dark an offering, the atmosphere definitely becomes a bit frantic, and you can only wish the track lived a little longer once it reaches its climax.

Sadly, much of Conquer doesn’t really stand out, but the latter half of the EP is something well worth experiencing. Given this is only five dollars (US currency), it’s a good idea to grab and experience this band now. Rocka Rollas have shown a good deal of growth since forming roughly two years ago at this point, and they prove their worth for creating incredibly catchy music that is chock full of potential any Power or Heavy Metal fan will eat right up. Given its early December release window, this makes the perfect stocking stuffer for the headbanger you love or put up with, and chances are good he or she would thank you for twenty plus minutes of solid, well performed material. Despite some of the more traditional songs that appear here, if you haven’t heard of Rocka Rollas before, then the Conquer EP is a nice place to start becoming familiar with them.

01. Bloodbath – 5:12
02. Conquer – 8:31
03. Riding the Metal Storm – 4:41
04. Steelwheeler – 2:10
Initial Pressing Score: 7.5/10

Rocka Rollas

Digital review copy of this release provided by StormSpell Records.