Proving the album name, Slow Burn, to be somewhat of a misnomer from the outset, album opener Atonement bursts out of the gates swinging and sets the tone for this second studio album from international metalcore five-piece Conquer Divide. With a screaming intro proclaiming “We are not the same”, the crunching riffs kick in and the melodic vocals of Kiarely Taylor take over with a slightly more laid back orchestration. What follows is a back and forth of Taylor’s melodies and screams from Janel Duarte sometimes battling, sometimes supporting each other before coming full circle to the opening lyric.

Slow Burn is an undeniably personal album inspired by the differing experiences of the band members, including the emotional and anthemic Paralyzed, based on guitarist Kristen Sturgis’ experiences as a nurse during the pandemic. Other themes are explored throughout the album, including environmental destruction in the blistering welcome2paradise; Social unrest in the brutal, hook heavy system_failure; and the biblical references of ‘N E W H E A V E N’. Other tracks include the upbeat ‘Over It.’ and the disjointed rhythms and crescendos of Afterthought.wav which serve to highlight the versatility of a band who are very much at the top of their game.

This is an incredibly self-assured album that solidifies Conquer Divide as a force to be reckoned with as they seamlessly weave driving riffs and screaming vocals with melodic, thoughtful arrangements and meaningful lyrics. It’s rare to find an album with so many instantly memorable tracks and where every track is a must-listen. With the album available from the 8th September, I look forward to catching them on tour at some point soon.

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