Conan - Blood Eagle review

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Band: Conan
Album: Blood Eagle
Release date: February 2014

01. Crown Of Talons
02. Total Conquest
03. Foehammer
04. Gravity Chasm
05. Horns For Teeth
06. Altar Of Grief

You might know Conan better as the given name of a certain barbarian, or a red-headed American talk show host. Stoner doom metal fans will also be starting to associate the name, if they haven't already, with this steamroller of a band from the UK. Despite the title for their latest album, Blood Eagle doesn't see their sound soaring to new heights, and why? Because it's too damn heavy to lift off the ground.

Their latest dose of bludgeoning endorses thick as mud reverb with ridiculously heavy guitars which carry sixty times the weight and force of impact of a sledgehammer, give or take. And, as I said, "soaring" is hardly the way to describe the metal here, although their vocalist Jon Davis does seem to be performing from the top of a mountain peak, roaring down through the dense haze of stoner metal clouds with booming power. You can feel the earth quake and tremble beneath your feet when each riff plummets from doomy mountains on high, flattening you in an avalanche of pounding rhythms. Gravity is your fondest of friends when listening to this, as attested by the densely constructed "Gravity Chasm," lovingly crafted to beat your head into mush.

One big plus here is the production, which allows for the emphasised heaviness to truly show its form, more so than can be said of their previous album Monnos. Although that one was certainly no lightweight contender either, this new effort really ups all the band's assets which they've been doling out with each new and crushing tune.

Blood Eagle is a little more energised than its predecessor; not quite as reliant on the doom aspect and quicker to assert its dominance with each simple but undoubtedly effective stoner stimulated riff and rhythm. The opener "Crown Of Talons" and the closer "Altar Of Grief" are where you'll find most of the doom, in terms of length and pacing as well as sound texture, which is of the prevailingly heavy doom type all throughout the record.

Conan's song writing relies more on impact than finesse. There is absolutely zero complexity involved; it's all basically just down tuned, gravelly bass iron pressings and it isn't designed to be catchy or hooky, barbarically pummelling being a more appropriate description. I had purchased a pancake maker prior to listening to this record, which I've since thrown away as it seems entirely redundant in comparison. Press play on this and Hey Presto! Every person and object in your vicinity is rendered a pancake!

Aside from the emphasised heaviness, there also isn't anything startlingly original in what they do. Frankly though, I could care less when I'm having an entire mountain of stoner doom dumped on top of me in the one sitting. There isn't any doubt in my mind that the simplicity of the song writing is what makes it such an overwhelmingly dense experience, despite the band's disinclination to show-boating. This is genuinely heavy shit.

If you manage to endure this without incurring any bruises or abrasions of some sort, you're a much sturdier person than I. Pretty sure I have no intact skeletal structure left at this point, so kudos to you if you walk out of this in perfect shape.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 7
Production: 9


Written on 24.03.2014 by R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.


Comments: 3   Visited by: 83 users
24.03.2014 - 17:27
"Conan's songwriting relies more on impact than finesse. There is absolutely zero complexity involved."

Ya know, it's funny, this is exactly what I used to HATE about this type of music, and two years later now I love it. Totally epitomizes the "less is more" idea to a T. Anyway, I'd probably rate this as a solid 8. Yeah, it's repetitive and monotonous, but god, is it a fucking banger! "Horns For Teeth" is my favorite. Also seeing these guys at Roadburn in a few weeks, get hype!
This is the water, and this is the well
Drink full and descend
The horse is the white of the eyes, and dark within
24.03.2014 - 19:13
Their lyrics are quite interesting...I totally agree that the production is great.....Plus cover artwork is awesome. So,pretty good album.
Olen täys idiootti jätkä.
26.03.2014 - 22:05
Amatsu Mikaboshi
Their most refined release so far, although not as distorted as their debut. Sooooooo glad that I was able to get back home the and see them again over the weekend. Top notch review, not completely serious yet not totally necessary. They perhaps I suppose, should contemplate being on the Godzilla soundtrack. Even they agreed....

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