In case you’re wondering, More Than Conquerors isn’t just a mish-mash of words that sound good together (see: Coldplay); the name stems from a Biblical quote which helps reflect the Belfast quartet’s religious upbringings. And like missionaries spreading the good word through foreign lands, More Than Conquerors have toured aggressively in both Northern Ireland and the Republic since forming in 2009, preaching their own brand of post-hardcore rock in the style of such inspirations as Biffy Clyro and Idlewild. The faithful will find much to like with their debut, but for the rest of us it may prove slightly harder to convert.
Opener ‘All That We Can’ works as a cold slap to unprepared eardrums as their stadium-filling guitars and lead singer Kris Platt’s high register vocals work to give you a proper sense of what the album is about. For the first third it works; there’s enough hooks and variety to their sound to keep you engaged and excited to see where it can go.
By the halfway mark, however, listener fatigue starts to come in. You may begin to feel as though you can have too much of a good thing as the riffs seem to blend into each other in an unfocused mess as the album draws to a close. Another problem is that at times it really feels as though you’re listening to these songs second-hand. More Than Conquerors have done more than most through their intense touring and kinetic live shows to stir up a grateful fan base; with this ultra-crisply recorded album that aggressive live sound has gotten a bit neutered in the process.
That said the album does spark of real confidence in terms of songwriting. There’s some brilliant guitar work to be heard throughout and the track ‘Bring Me to the Blood Bank’ is a wonderful acoustic breather that finds itself further showing the talent on show here. What More Than Conquerors have done with this album is prove to those who have been unable to see them live that they are a band that can more than match the energy expected from their more established contemporaries. The album, in turn, offers just a preview to what some of the songs can offer – they need an audience of more than one to properly come alive. Nonetheless the potential offered here should not be ignored; afterwards you may want to keep an ear open for their further movements. Which is what we’ve learnt.