What may well have started off as something of a joke for ‘caveman battle doom’ trio Conan back in 2006 has become somewhat serious of late. A prestigious spot at Roadburn festival in 2012, personally chosen by Voivod themselves, a packed Underworld show during Desertfest as well as tours and split releases with the likes of Sleep, Bongripper and Slomatics, have all helped to build a deserved force of momentum behind a hard-working band from a thriving UK underground scene.
Blood Eagle, Conan’s third long-player, invites you to join their regression into an atavistic state by means of drone-laden doom that is by several magnitudes more thunderous than anything your bass bins have had thrown at them of late.
Crown Of Talons lumbers menacingly towards you with the pace of a milk float and the crushing density of a neutron star. The dual vocals of guitarist Jon Davis and bassist Phil Coumbe play off each other throughout, by turns coarse and fair, laughing in the face of bands that need 128bpm to devastate by breaking into the slightest of canters in the track’s final minutes and loosening every last one of your teeth.
It is an altogether more ponderous beast than its predecessor, Monnos, a record that is by comparison a ‘catchier’ listen, but the oppressive threat that permeates every drawn-out note here is the sound of a band coming into their own. Foehammer’s opening moments are another rare example of an increase in pace, serving only as a prelude to yet more of the slowly swung pulse-pounding that follows, a deservedly arrogant swagger towards the finish instigated by the aptly titled Gravity Chasm. You’ve heard the one about the tortoise and the hare, right?