Saturday, June 21, 2014

…bring forth the hammers: CONAN – ‘Blood Eagle’

If felling giants is the name-of-the-game then there are worse soundtracks for the deed than Conan’s mighty third full-length, ‘Blood Eagle’. The UK doom brutes continue to wage war on the listener with a hypnotic low-end rumble capable of shaking even the most fortified battlements to their very foundation. Though the band has not veered too far from the formula established on their debut EP, ‘Horseback Battle Hammer’, with its seismic bass reverberations, equally down-tuned guitars, and dual barbaric battle cries—‘Blood Eagle’ still manages to up-the-ante by furthering Conan’s refinement of their self-proclaimed “Caveman Battle Doom”.

Initially, the most striking aspect of ‘Blood Eagle’ is that the album, overall, has a greater depth and degree of groove when compared to both ‘Horseback Battle Hammer’ and 2012’s excellent ‘Monnos’ an element which is brutally obvious on standout tracks like “Total Conquest” and “Horns for Teeth”. “Total Conquest” begins with a trippy, otherworldly flanged-out guitar before settling into a primitive head-nodding lurch with an occasional onslaught of riffs that seems to share a strand of DNA with moments of High on Fire’s rawest and most primeval effort ‘The Art of Self Defense”. “Horns for Teeth” is, from start to finish, a churning maelstrom of earth-rending distortion and apocalyptic admonitions suitable for crushing the weak and subjugating one’s enemies.

Those already familiar with Conan’s heavier-than-thou brand of doom metal should pretty much know what to expect with their third full-length, though that is not to say that the band has stalled, regressed, or have even repeated themselves. With ‘Blood Eagle’ Conan continues to hone the sound pioneered on ‘Horseback Battle Hammer’ and subsequently refined on ‘Monnos’ and their splits with Slomatics and Bongripper into a sonic instrument of doom to be both feared and respected. Prepare to vanquish your enemies…

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