By Brian Kim
Heavier and more crushing than a mountain of Sunn amps melting in the center of an active volcano, English “caveman battle doom” trio Conan have crafted an eviscerating, monolithic sonic weapon within their newest album, Revengeance.
Boasting a decade of ravaging the earth with their brand of crippling doom metal under their belts, Conan’s newest record maintains the unrelenting sound they have become so well known for while still feeling remarkably fresh. The opening track to the record, “Throne Of Fire” sets the pace with founding guitarist and vocalist Jon Davis unleashing a series of feverish riffs over the rhythmic onslaught of bassist Chris Fielding and drummer Rich Lewis before collapsing into a deep, black chasm of sludge. The ultra heavy guitar and bass tones will undoubtedly give fans of Sleep a warm fuzzy feeling in their bass-rumbled guts, while Davis’ blood-curdling battle cries will keep hairs on end. The sheer scope of the band’s epic songwriting is staggering, particularly on tracks like the eight and half minute “Wrath Gauntlet”, a sprawling odyssey stretching molten chords and fiery feedback like hot magma over vast, charred plains. Lewis’ ferocious drumming is the demonic heartbeat which keeps the flood of distortion marching, an uncompromising engine pumping the dark smokey fuel which drives the Conan war machine forward.
While Conan is extremely adept at such gloom and doom, their instinct for dynamics is also consistently on point, as is the case with the title track, “Revengeance”. Rather than smother the listener after essentially twenty minutes of drawn out chord progressions and droning noise, “Revengeance” ignites fresh life into the desolate ruins left by its predecessors as it kicks off with a series of frenzied blast beats before coasting into fist pumping, head banging, sludge rock. Davis’ cries of “This is nothing / Realm of nothing / We are all nothing / You are nothing” are like a nihilistic war anthem, a rallying cry for the invincibly hopeless.
Perhaps most impressive is the album’s final track, the nearly twelve minute opus “Earthenguard”. The song smolders to a start with a fuzzy, phased out guitar riff before building and evolving into a lumbering, elephantine beast, a decadent priest worshiping at the altar of doom. After reaching critical mass, the song slowly fades into the cosmos over the course of nearly three minutes of mind-melting guitar noise.
Revengeance is out now via Napalm Records and Conan will be embarking on a month long North American tour, taking along local doom champions and Seattle PA favorites Serial Hawk as their main support. Pick up the record and catch them in Seattle at the Highline on March 26th, along with Canada’s Mitochondrion and Auroch, and locals Bell Witch.