Conan – ‘Blood Eagle’
Review by Matthew Green
I think it’s the vocals. The vocals and the drums. The vocals, the drums and the guitar tone. But really, it’s the vocals. Doom metal, like grindcore, is an inherently restrictive genre and the question is always: what distinguishes this band from another? And, on this album, Conan have found that elusive set of criteria.
The foundation stone, the building block are those astonishing dual vocals (Jon Davis/Phil Coumbe) developed since ‘Horseback Battlehammer’- calling out from beyond the mountains, from below the oceans, echoing through the arctic tundra and the searing African desert straight that part of you that is forever isolated and apart, they sound like no other.
The rhythm of doom is an ache, a throb and yet Paul O’Neil toys with us, showing what else is possible whether it be racing bass triplets at the start of ‘Foehammer’ or the shifting patterns that twist an already devastating riff into a neck-snapping beast in the last 90 seconds of ‘Total Conquest’, he has us dancing like a maggot on the line.
And finally that homegrown tone, that oozing golden syrup, that volcanic mud bubbling and flopping through every fold and ripple of your brain that takes a succession of riffs deeper and lower until your very ankles are betraying your vertical for the horizontal. Show me a band of doom more capable of writing songs that connect you to Rock And Roll and I will give you my grandmothers ashes. ‘Monnos’ I found a tad stagnant- ‘Blood Eagle’ moves every one of your organs. 9/10
Blood Eagle is out in the UK on 3rd March 2014.
Conan tour the UK in March with Bast (who also have an astounding new album out, check it here).
March 14th Nottingham, Stuck on a Name Studios
March 15th Bournemouth, The Anvil
March 16th Birmingham, The Asylum 2
March 17th Glasgow, Audio
March 18th Aberdeen, Downstairs
March 19th Manchester, Kraak Gallery
March 20th Cardiff, The Full Moon (also with Spider Kitten and Gorgantuan)
March 21st Brighton, The Prince Albert
March 22nd London, Electrowerkz (also with Indian and Dead Existence) – ticket link