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Conan: Existential Void Guardian

I love this band so much that I named my Skyrim character “Conan.” It seemed appropriate since that game is all about traversing bleak landscapes and exploring dank dungeons. It would be even more awesome to play Skyrim with any one of Conan’s albums blasting out of the TV. Think I’m wrong? Check out “Prosper on the Path” or “Eye to Eye to Eye” and see if you don’t want to take on some dragons.

For those unfamiliar with Conan, they are a fuzzed-out, groove-soaked, and down-tuned doom band that knows exactly what they’re doing. For the last several years, they’ve given fans killer tracks like “Hawk as Weapon,” or “Crown of Talons,” my personal favorite. I know that some readers wonder if doom isn’t a one-trick barbarian, but anything by Conan should convince them otherwise. This band long ago mastered the slow-tempo groove and the vocals are appropriately grim and aggressive. Even if doom sounds easy, it isn’t. Playing slowly is just as hard as playing quickly and Conan handles the pace brilliantly. Their music is like a slowly moving war beast, something that you take into battle because it is so big and so destructive.

I would have been content if this album was simply more of what Conan does best, but they’ve managed to up their already-amazing game with songwriting that adds little moments of power and aggression to everything. “Volt Thrower,” the album’s first single, is especially solid in this respect, but tracks like “Vexxagon” and “Amidst the Infinite” also stand out. I’m not talking about a dramatic shift in sound; there’s just a little more groove, a little more fuzz, and a little more confidence here. Part of the secret also lies in the vocals. They sound terrific from start to finish and definitely add to the band’s sound in ways that other bands don’t quite have. If you’re looking for a surprise, check out the album closer, “Eternal Silent Legend.” That song is just a little different than the others. It’s slightly muted and works out a few extra beats in ways that add complexity to everything. Even the guitars have a little extra melody and brightness. Such little tweaks might worry some listeners, but I suggest they are nothing more than further proof that this band is testing their limits and seeing what else doom metal can do. What I hear is a track that builds up a doom metal juggernaut so big and so destructive that it can only destroy everything in its path. Conan rules and this is a superb record.

Track Listing:
1. Prosper on the Path
2. Eye to Eye to Eye
3. Paincantation
4. Amidst the Infinite
5. Volt Thrower
6. Vexxagon
7. Eternal Silent Legend
8. Total Conquest (Live)
9. Satsumo (Live)
10. Foehammer (Live)
11. Hawk As Weapon (Live)

Added: September 22nd 2018
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1009
Language: english

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