Conan
Blood Eagle

Conan have been making waves in the thriving UK doom metal scene for a number of years, making appearances at my former local, The Royal Park pub in Leeds, in a dingy basement no bigger than your living room. They were rewarded for their persistence with a slot at the esteemed Roadburn festival in April 2012. Blood Eagle is their second full length and is every bit as compelling as the rest of their discography. 

If it’s variety you’re looking for you may want to search elsewhere, but chances are that if you’ve clicked on this review based on prior knowledge to the band or the name itself, you will be expecting some kind of antediluvian assault to the senses. You won’t be disappointed – for me, the exact appeal of Conan is their style of proto-music, songs that seem to reject conventional devices of music, and that seem that they could have been written by the humans that first walked this planet.

Conan make music that’s often so rudimentary that it is paradoxically ambitious. They take simplicity to extreme levels – listen to the savage beating of the guitar strings and drum skins at the end of “Crown of Talons”, hammering away on one note like it’s the last note they’ll play. The vocals are something else too – closer to the wails of Jus Oborn from Electric Wizard than to the traditional throaty doom roar, they frequently crack which adds to the music in a magnificently chaotic, arcane manner. Like the seminal NYC doom metal band Winter, the drums are often the lead instrument that give the colour to the music – check out the first two minutes of “Total Conquest” for an awesome example of this. It’s not all funeral dirge paced though – “Gravity Chasm” bounces along like classic Cathedral.

It is clear that these guys have spent long hours twiddling the settings on their amps and guitars to get one of the most primitive, subterranean tones imaginable. When listening to the riffs seeping out of your speakers, it seems that they are played with a stone club rather than a guitar pick. As a trio they create a thicker sound than bands with twice the number of members.

I didn’t expect to enjoy Blood Eagle as much as I do, but its primal infectiousness means that I’ll be spinning this record for the rest of the year and beyond. Highly recommended.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jack Taylor
March 31st, 2014

Comments

  1. Commented by: E. Thomas

    Finally heard these guys, LOVE that guitar tone- not crazy about the vocals though, even if they are not wailing trad dooms ones


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