11 February 2016

Conan - Revengeance

All hail Conan!!! As might be apparent from our previous reviews by myself on this blog, I really like the music of Liverpool based Conan (here is a link to our previous reviews of their work, spelling mistakes and all) ; it is so low and doomy that it warms my blackened heart so much it could bring a smile to my face at any point.  From the first note I heard, it was an instance connection and they are one of the hardest working bands going in the UK at the moment.  So from the beginning of this review, I am a little bit bias towards them; but each album has to be looked at on an individual level and not just given a fanfare due to their previous work - otherwise some acts would have taken praise they did not deserve.  This album follows up 'Blood Eagle' (the review is linked above with any other which has graced this sight) and their last live record ' Live at Bannermans' which was released in 2015.  This is one of two metal albums (together with Mantar) that I have been eagerly anticipating in 2016, some acts have that draw for me and Conan are one of those acts - let us see how this slab of sludge has turned out......

“Throne of Fire” starts off the album at a fast pace with a harsh and aggressive riff that sounds like a juggernaut picking up speed and moving faster and faster, until you hint the chorus where everything slows down with a slab of doom smashing into the speed and it gives it a brilliant contrast to the song.  It will appeal to fans of groove metal with a riff that you can lock into and start a circle pit in an empty room, followed by the doom filled chorus sections which give you a chance to get your breath back.  “Thunderhoof” follows on with a more (for want of a better word) traditional Conan song, it slows everything down to a crawl in paces and it has space for the riffs, drum beats and notes to expand and loop around your mind.  It is a long song (as most Conan song tend to be) coming in just over nine and a half minutes, but this is a song that you will want to place on repeat once you have heard it; it ends up mainly just rumbling bass noise at the end and that sound majestic when turned up to full volume.  “Wrath Gauntlet” marks the half way point of this record and the bass is still rumbling at this point, the riffs are sounding like gongs in a storm and the noise/feedback is brilliant.  It is a funeral march slow, doom explosion that needs a few listens to appreciate completely.  On the first listen, you like it, the second listen you start to appreciate it a little more, by the time you get to the fifth or sixth, starts to sink in how good this song actually is.  It is a grower and it is one that keeps on giving the more you venture into the dark for the eight and a half minutes that it is in the world – you do not hear a vocal till after four minutes have past and it is just doom/sludge heaven. 

The title track “Revengeance” follows and out of the feedback comes another song that picks up the speed for the band, it is all attack on this song from beginning to end and it does not give the audience a moment to breath or rest.  It is relentless on this number and from the beginning the band make a song that sounds like war has been declared on the world and this is the machine that will bring down the end of humanity.  It is one of the best songs I have heard from Conan and that is saying something, I think that is because it does something different out of the band, but that is for later on in this review – for now, all I need to say is that this sounds like an adrenaline bolt have been given to the band and it sounds fucking epic!  The penultimate track (Conan albums are always over too soon) comes in the form of “Every Man is an Enemy” which is another aggressive number that shifts away from the slower style of ‘Monnos’ and gives their brand of sludge a new face with a song that is straight out of the amplifier worship guide of how to rock like your life depends on it, you are thrown into a swirling number that centres around a repetitive and brilliant riff that keeps things incredibly simple as the song ploughs on.  Towards the end the song slows down and the Conan we all know and love come out with some fantastic sludge sections that will have the faithful in rapture and it perfectly complements the earlier sections of the song as well; this song is literally the best of both worlds.  Ending the album is the eleven minute plus tale of “Earthenguard” which does exactly what has been the calling card of this album.  There has been a change in the band that has altered their DNA a lot and this song is another which is almost traditional to the usual Conan sound, but it has a lot more happening and it is not all epic long drawn out riffs; there is a sense of drama and the dynamics have moved on as well.  It is another fantastic song on this album that I do not want to end…...

It is almost impossible for this band to do anything wrong in my eyes, each album is always spot on and this one is a real game change for me.  It shows that the band are wanting to make new noises and to bring something else to the table, which is actually refreshing as you can get stuck in a rut sometimes with sludge music.  The band are onto something really special with this album, the addition of that extra layer of speed has made this a fantastic album; if I had one thing I would have changed about it, it would be that I would have loved for there to be more songs on this album – but that is just me being a greedy person and does not take away from the fact that these guys are on a roll.  They are about to go on tour in the UK, USA and other places, I would go and bear witness to them if they swing by your neck of the woods.  All hail Conan!!!!

9.5 out of ten – Almost perfect, almost…...

Top track – Every Man is an Enemy

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