Conan | ‘Monnos’
Everything about this recording is simply massive sounding.
At it’s most basic – just imagine the sound of that spaced-out giant on the cover jumping up and down on your head for about forty minutes or so. You won’t be far off.
Indeed, an almost visual wall of sound assails the listener for the duration of the Liverpudlian Doom trio’s debut album, which comes our way courtesy of Dutch label Burning World Records.
Coming off the back of their well-received split with Belfast’s Slomatics, Conan offer up a collection of rock-solid tracks that delve into the deepest depths of warm tone.
It only takes only listen to suggest group seem have unlocked a guitar sound that is about as hefty as there’s every been. The crunch of opener ‘Hawk as Weapon’ has an almost vibrating effect on the human skull.
It’s the fine little touches everywhere that speak as to how well the group know their craft. Every song flows easily, and there’s no moments of lethargy that can often plague this atonal style. Simplistic use of layered, disembodied vocals work very well in the mix, not distracting from the instrumental battering that’s going on.
Take for example, the thunder of double bass on ‘Grim Tormentor’. The impact of this most elemental of metal instrumentation is nothing but primal.
It’s the sound of drums on the battlefield, the clattering of a chariot and the beating of a heart in combat – all echoed through the primal pulse of some monstrous amp.
Things are broken up nicely by the stark openness of ‘Golden Axe’, which reminds slightly of more recent Earth. Soon were right back into the sludge though, with ‘Headless Hunter’ dropping both the pace and some grinding chord progressions. Some rock solid drumming here adds so much to proceedings.
The group know not to prolong the assault too much, so we’re left with a relatively short album. Indeed that’s a philosophy that’s evident throughout – as the properly atavistic moments of caveman violence are well dispersed and short lived. It draws the hand to the replay button all to easily.
Almost reaching nine minutes, the closer, ‘Invincible Throne’, works perfectly.
It’s a slow one, with a prolonged, insistent riff landing on the listener with merciless weight. It’s as good as any showcase of how to write a Doom song that’s highly listenable without ever getting repetitive.
There can be little doubt that Conan have produced a fine article here, and those who’ve witnessed them live can attest to their power.
This is a record that also passes the cycling test, producing enough adrenaline to have yours truly shouting bloody murder at ignorant taxi drivers in Dublin city centre when really he should just turn the other cheek. But then, confrontation was always Conan’s way.
They channel his power just fine.
4.2 / 5 – Lorcan Archer – 19/04/12