Conqueror ‘Life On Repeat’ Album Review
A few reviews have already been written about Conqueror’s new full length album, Life on Repeat, talking mostly about the sound and walking you through listening to the album. So instead I’m going to write about how this album resonated with me personally, and offer my own insights, especially the lyrical content.
This is a hardcore punk album. A real one. Hardcore was born out of a place on anxiety, anger, feeling displaced, and a profound hatred of society and authority. You can argue that hardcore is what you make it, and that you can replace anger with passion or whatever, but you cannot change where it came from. That was where the sound came from. In my opinion, it is the most honest “human” sound that has evolved i.e. it is angry, it is violent, it is ugly and it wants to be heard.* I’m not sure about the rest of you, but when I am in a certain mood e.g. sad, angry, stoked, I listen to something that reaffirms that emotion; I like to feel and know that someone else went through the same, or similar, feelings I did, and wrote lyrics about it, often turning emotion into words in a way that I could not. If I’m angry, I don’t feel like listening to something happy. It just irritates me. I like to process that anger through listening to angry music. It makes me feel better. I guess it is a kind of therapy for me, while at the same time being a form of escapism.
Honestly, Conqueror’s lyrics have more depth and honesty than your vaguely-motivational, pseudo-positive lyrics ever have.
Immediately it is clear that the lyrics are full of hatred towards the human race, towards working, towards religion, and towards society. I can relate to this. Every time I read about another corporate giant ruining the Earth, another species on the brink of extinction, racist, homophobic and sexist hate crimes, a city trying as hard as it can to purge itself of the poor etc. I can’t think about anything else, I get anxious, my breathing often gets heavy, and I need to find a way to process it. Maybe it isn’t that healthy, but at least I know that I feel, even if I live in a world that doesn’t seem to. “My blood runs cold for the cruel and callous“.
The raw criticism of humanity reminds me a lot of the views of Fall of Efrafa (although the sound is very different), especially in the song “Serpent Within” with lyrics like “Return to the dirt / corroding the surface / decay like the Earth“. It is sometimes overwhelming to “wake up” and realise how many people are so blissfully ignorant of almost everything, buying into ideas that do nothing but blind. Perhaps, when the lyrics refer to the “serpent” within and “evil” they are referring to the story of The Garden of Eden, where the serpent (Satan) encourages Adam to eat from the Tree of the Knowledge of good and evil, “evil” being enlightenment and education, and thinking critically and rationally. Another good example is the line “Why waste a second on a breed / that value status, wealth and greed“. Maybe I’m over-thinking these lyrics…
Another theme in Life on Repeat is the feeling that we are wasting our lives away by working jobs we hate and living in routines that are soul destroying – “Cause all I fucking see / is life on repeat / 7 days a week / 9 to 5…“. While a few of us seem to have figured out a way to do what we love as a living, or to escape “the system” completely, the majority of us exist in repetition, created by capitalism and enforced by the state and society. How often do you hear an uncle talking about how much they hate their job, how expensive things are etc., but when you try to start a conversation about how we could possibly live differently, and create a different kind of world for future generations, the exact same lifestyle is defended furiously? It blows my mind. So instead we become “bottled up”, which often causes unexpected negative outcomes in other areas of life – “I fought for a life I despised…” “World of Hate”, to me, touches on the consequences that come from living in a machinist system, as does “Day In Day Out” – “Power corrupts / money controls / feed the system / give your fucking soul / this life of servitude I lead / strapped in / bled out…”
“Blood Surfer” is probably one the angriest songs against religious institution that I have ever heard. It is a harsh criticism of man-made (“the road you built“) belief systems, although it is obviously using Christianity as the target, the dominant religion of the Western world. It is infuriating to see (granted, not all) leaders of a faith that talks about serving others dressed to the nines, marrying 19-year old supermodels, flashing their gold jewellery around, preaching servitude to congregations of desperate people. “I don’t want no part of it“.
The album is summed up with the song “LDMS”. Whilst I can’t relate to finding mine in drugs, I completely understand all of us can relate to the need to find escape somehow. Life on Repeat is a brutally honest unleashing of rage on a world in which it sometimes seems like “life don’t mean shit”. My favourite song was probably “Misanthropic ‘Till I Die”. The breakdown at the end is so rad.
You can download (and stream 2 songs for free from) Life on Repeat here.
*I am not saying there is anything wrong with positive music, or that hardcore is meant to be anything specifically. Many of my favourite bands have positive lyrics. Check out Mindset, Punch, Bane or Verse. I’m also not trying to interpret the lyrics of this album, or somehow suggest that the band meant anything specifically when writing Life on Repeat, only how it resonated with my own life when I listened to it.
Categories: ALBUM REVIEWS, FEATURED