Crushing and suffocating as it corrodes the senses, the new album from doomsters Conan is set to be one of if not THE most primal trespass on body and soul heard this year. It will certainly take something leviathan in heaviness and emotional destruction to surpass the barbarous weight and intensity of Revengeance, and that a discovery only possible if ears survive and recover from the British band’s latest impressive devouring.
Formed around the time 2006 became its successor, the then two-piece was soon a merciless scourge of sound and intent, proof coming with debut EP Battle in the Swamp in 2007. Since then a pair of albums in Monnos (2012) and Blood Eagle (2014), surrounded by a couple of split releases as well as a further EP and a live album, have all added intensive heft and stature to the band’s presence and a perpetual luring of acclaim. Now with the declaration of many as being the band’s heaviest proposal yet and loaded with songs seeded in video games, retro sword and sorcery movies, and ancient battle scenes, Revengeance sees Conan take their uncharitable and infectiously toxic sound to the listener with rawer strength and callous intensity aligned to groove fuelled rabidity.
The album opens up with the seriously bruising rock ‘n’ roll of Throne of Fire, the track immediately bounding with sinew driven urgency through ears. The beats of drummer Rich Lewis land like sledgehammers as the bass of Chris Fielding intimidatingly prowls with venomous intent, both matched in hostile tenacity by the scuzzy groove spilling guitar of Jon Davis. With his and Fielding’s vocals united in antagonistic temptation and bearish presentation too, the track is a riotous onslaught prone to fluid slips into festering sludge hued examinations of the senses.
It is a gripping and punishing start to the release continued by the compassionless incitement of Thunderhoof. In excess of nine minutes, the track gravitates towards the senses and emotions with bestial predation bred in an asphyxiating mass of sound and intent. The two prong vocal violation again is a commanding coaxing into the carnal heart of the encounter, rhythms prowling that centre with cold-blooded efficiency and dexterity as Davis’ guitar casts its violation of noise, a sonic despoiling as infectious as it is abusive.
Two tracks in and it is already hard to bring to mind a doom infested offering as ruinously resonating and enthralling; Wrath Gauntlet backing up that thought in expected but refreshing style. Sonically smothering the senses from its first breath, the track is the collapse of light and hope; how you might expect the heart of a black hole to be with at times the matching impression of no survival. Within it though, searing enterprise and unpredictable scythes of animosity rear their appealing head, as throughout the release, giving what on the surface may seem like similarly pestilential walls of noise drama to that around them, their own individual character.
The album’s title track uncages its scarring sonic fury next with, in tandem, rhythms a rebelliously concentrated bullying. It is a ravenous affair, an unbridled tempest of sonic carnality savaging the body as a web of deliciously invasive grooves inspires its eager involvement. Erupting in ruthless contagion, the track is a slash-and-burn consumption as caustically vicious as it is addictively invigorating and more than matched by Every Man Is an Enemy and its own virulently swinging infestation of ears and emotions. Neck muscles are as insatiably tested as the senses, its lumbering yet openly catchy enmity of sound and spirit, a warring beast of noise and viciousness.
The closing Earthenguard begins with a ‘light’ climate but is soon choking the listener in its damning nature and pitiless depleting of the senses. There is no escaping its insidious drone or the numbing of ears and emotions, except to turn it off and that is an inclination which never raises its head. Arguably less dynamic than its predecessors but certainly as inhospitable and pleasing, the song makes a fine end to a dangerously compelling release.
The reality of it all is that the rest of the doom metal scene has been given a benchmark by Conan for 2016; time will tell if they are up to the challenge laid down.
Revengeance is available from January 29th via Napalm Records on CD, vinyl and as a digital download.
Upcoming Tour Dates:
09.04.16 UK – Leeds / Ritual Festival
30.04.16 UK – London / Desertfest
28.05.16 UK – Southampton / Annihilation Festival
Pete RingMaster 28/01/2016
Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright
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