Conan
Mount Wrath: Live At Roadburn 2012

For a band to have the honor of playing the esteemed Roadburn Festival in the Netherlands should be enough of an indicator of how good the music is – but it’s worth looking a bit deeper into the music of Liverpudlian self-styled ‘Caveman Metal’ act Conan.

The album begins with a wall of feedback, before the dirtiest chord imaginable is clubbed out of the guitar, and the drums begin their wrenched tortured crawl, to last for the next eleven minutes. I thought dirge-merchants such as Khanate and Moss were the best at wringing every last drop of agony out of their chords, but Conan prove to be fine contenders. The strings used by guitarist Jon Davis must be as thick as treetrunks to be able to support this kind of ultra-subsonic tones that he beats forth from his instrument; it is a guitar tone which has to be heard to be believed. It’s not until the 4:30 mark that the vocals enter; feral, wounded, echoed cries that swirl around the miasma. It’s at this point when you fully understand why the title of Caveman Metal is so aptly chosen for this band; and I mean that as a sincere compliment. It carries on like this until just before the end of the song, where the BPM increases roughly 100 fold into a stompy outro, and the sepulchral opener “Krull” is over.

The following track “Satsumo” starts off with a mid-paced groove, more stoner rock than doom, with a surprisingly catchy chorus. The album continues in a similar vein, simple entrancing grooves underpinned by thudding drums. Conan utilise two vocalists, that at times provide twisted harmonies which may have some listeners reminiscing over Enemy of the Sun-era Neurosis. If by this stage you aren’t enjoying the music then you might as well give up, as the rest is more of the same, which will of course please long-term fans; album closer “Sea Lord” rounds things off in a suitably bleak manner.

The music isn’t for the faint-hearted; bleak, sparse and primeval, with song lengths that will put off the casual listener. Definitely worth a try if you enjoy acts such as the previously mentioned Moss and Khanate, and serves as a great “best-of” for this promising Doom act.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jack Taylor
August 2nd, 2013

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