Conan’s second album Blood Eagle parades all the musculature and primal intensity you would expect from their literary namesake, its body a rippling drone tempest of doom dressed metal. The new six track leviathan from the band sculpts the heaviest ravenous riffs and ruggedly intimidatingly rhythms, aspects expected from the band after the casting of their debut album back in 2012, but brings it under a swamp of brutal oppressiveness and voracious atmospheres which sees the band at its most destructively creative yet. It is an album which tests and seduces the listener simultaneously, leaving emotions exhausted and satisfaction bloated.
Formed in 2006 as a duo, Conan has seen numerous line-up changes across the subsequent years but it is fair to say that the trio of guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis, bassist/vocalist Phil Coumbe, and drummer Paul O’Neil has driven the band to its most impacting and vicious adventures as evidenced upon Blood Eagle. The band has persistently barged and demanded attention through their releases, the Horseback Battle Hammer EP of 2010 and that first album Monnos two years later notable onslaughts, whilst splits with Slomatics and Bongripper in 2011 and 2013 respectively, has only increased the presence, and certainly in the latter, the expectations of their second full-length. Released via Napalm Records and as their previous album Chris Fielding produced, Blood Eagle certainly feeds those needs and more, its battle field of sludge tarred monolithic riffs and threateningly captivating rhythms aligned to an exceptional dual vocal provocation, dangerously irresistible and ruinously enthralling.
The initial breath of first track Crown of Talons instantly offers an intimidating presence, the near on ten minute journey through cavernous climes and thick textures not exactly laboured in its emergence but certainly taking its menacing time to envelop the senses. Riffs slowly entwine around the ears securing a ready submission to their bait before darkening and intensifying their immersive swamp of sound with firm rhythms punctuating every evolving twist and corner of the journey. As leaden and bulky as a mountain bred avalanche but with the centuries worth of patience within any kind of erosion, the track is a mesmeric pestilential consumption, an insidious rapture which simply seduces from start to finish.
Its successor Total Conquest brings an even greater intimidating predation to its structure and touch, an almost visceral essence coating its every moment whether again smothering the senses with a steady trudge or raising its energy to scavenge with forceful voracity. The gruff vocals equally gain a richer growl and seeming impatience to accentuate the threat whilst rhythmically the track deceives with a hypnotically irresistible contagion which leads the listener further into the jaws of the ravaging.
Foehammer is next to abrase and snarl against the ears, its excellent vocal offering an anthemic call within the less welcoming barbarous scourge of sound, both elements insatiably magnetic even with the bestially harsh and intensively weighted squall of the track around them. The shortest slab of ferocity on the release it leaves just as many lingering agreeable scars before the excellent Gravity Chasm unleashes its particular venomous waltz of exhaustive severity and vehemence. There is a swing and groove to the provocation which simply traps the passions, taking them on a hellacious dance of primal intensity aligned to captivating vocal rapacity, before throwing them to the always waiting carnivorous appetite of the behemoth sound. The best track on the album is followed by the masterful and enthralling heavy hum of Horns for Teeth, the track another to skilfully merge a catchy swagger and infection into a suffocating drone sculpted canvas of doom incitement. It is a glorious sonic dreadnought with a tempestuous suasion rivalling its predecessor for that top beast honour.
The album is completed by the transfixing Altar of Grief; an almost shamanic rhythmic coaxing setting things off whilst being courted by a distorted nagging sonic drone. The entrance of the track infests and infects with impossible ease paving the way for the corrosive squall of sound that washes over and permeates every thought and emotion. Like the first song it is a demanding and unrelenting pillaging of the body, content to strip the senses layer by layer with its slow sandblast as it brings Blood Eagle to an immense conclusion. Conan makes you suffer and face multiple trials to get to the heart of its releases but as here the rewards are constantly worth every wound and scar.
Upcoming Conan Tour Dates:
14.03.14 UK – Nottingham / Stuck On A Name Studio
15.03.14 UK – Bournemouth / The Anvil
16.03.14 UK – Birmingham / The Asylum 2
17.03.14 UK – Glasgow / Audio
19.03.14 UK – Manchester / Kraak Gallery
20.03.14 UK – Cardiff / Full Moon
21.03.14 UK – Brighton / The Prince Albert
22.03.14 UK – London / Electrowerkz
09.04.14 BE – Liège / le Hangar
10.04.14 NL – Tilburg / Roadburn Festival
11.04.14 DE – Würzburg / Cafe Cairo
12.04.14 DE – Leipzig / Doom Over Leipzig
13.04.14 DK – Copenhagen / KB18
14.04.14 NO – Oslo / Revolver
16.04.14 FI – Jÿvaskÿla / Lutakko
17.04.14 FI – Helsinki / Kuudes Linja
18.04.14 FI – Tampere / Klubi
19.04.14 FI – Oulu / Nuclear NightClub
21.04.14 SE – Stockholm / tba
22.04.14 SE – Lund / Hemgarden
23.04.14 DE – Berlin / Jaegerklause
24.04.14 DE – Wiesbaden / Kulturpalast
25.04.14 NL – Groningen / Vera
26.04.14 DE – Hamburg / Droneburg Festival
27.04.14 DE – Cologne / Underground
21.06.14 FR – Clisson / Hellfest
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