Release Date: 29th January, 2016
Label: Napalm Records
Review by John
Two years on from their last full length offering ‘Blood Eagle’, the heaviest thing ever to come out of Merseyside (with the possible exception of Jan Molby when he left Anfield), Conan return to bludgeon you about the head with another slice of pure unadulterated caveman battle doom.
But, what’s this? Opener ‘Throne of Fire’ throws a curveball.
The melancholy, funereal (yet still blisteringly heavy) pace of the Conan of old has been speeded up a bit. It’s a chocker alright. But as soon as the piercing vocals kick in, you fall easily into that old familiar groove. “Born from chaos. Realms above us. Leave behind us. Onward!” is the battlecry that doesn’t so much take you by the hand as grab you by both ears and scream down them.
As with their previous releases, this is not for the faint hearted. A return to more familiar territory awaits on ‘Thunderhoof’ with everything you’ve come to expect from Conan. Only more so. This is Conan turned up to 11. Like an even more miserable version of old school Cathedral, this is another battle scarred epic straight from the hallowed halls of Valhalla.
‘Wrath Gauntlet’ follows, with Sabbath-esque riffage and a hauntingly low tempo. At just shy of 9 minutes long, you begin to wonder if this is a brain crushingly brutal instrumental until, at around the halfway mark, the searing vocals launch their all out assault. Things speed up again for title track ‘Revengeance’, bringing a touch of thrash (but not as we know it)to proceedings, before settling into a catchy groove that you just have to move your head along to, before upping the pace again to put you into full on headbanging territory.
‘Every Man Is An Enemy’ leads us further into the fray with a battle scarred anthem underpinned by the sort of drumming that would drive fear into the hearts of any foe. And finally, ‘Earthenguard’ brings the curtain down on proceedings. Clocking in at almost 12 minutes long, it brings more imagination and creativity to the table than many entire albums. Not quite an instrumental (there are some lyrics in there, just not many), it’s the perfect closer to an outstanding album.
If you’ve heard Conan before and they’re not your cup of tea, then this is not going to change your mind. But fans of the band will not feel short changed here – it has everything you would want from a Conan album and then some. This is the very epitome of doom metal. Proof that you don’t have to play fast to be damned heavy. If ever there was an album to lead an army into battle with, this is it. You’re unlikely to find a heavier album released this year. Loud, in your face and uncompromising, turn the volume right up, put on your chainmail, pick up your broadsword and let slip the dogs of war. Conan are coming. And they are not taking prisoners.
01 Throne Of Fire
03 Wrath Gauntlet
05 Every Man Is An Enemy
Visit Conan on Facebook: www.facebook.com/conandoom