Conan: The New Sound of the Mersey

Conan is a stoner/doom band hailing from not far from DeHud’s Merseyside home.   This is a release that’s been around for a couple of months now, having come out in March on the excellent Burning World records label, which is run by the guys who also do the notable Roadburn festival amongst other things.  Monnos, their latest release following on from their spring 2010 debut album, ‘Horseback Battle Hammer’, is a heavy treat.

A six-track release, this album takes you straight down into the dark, cold depths.  Horrifying visions appear on the calcium-stained rock face as you descend, foul, poisonous sludge clinging to your clothes as Conan initiate you into their world.  The opener, ‘Hawk as Weapon’, conjures up a monolithic slab of doom, with severely downtuned guitars and a monstrous, devastating bass, psychedelic touches, and somehow distant vocals that make you imagine the calling of a far-off warrior leading troops into battle.  From here, we move into the territory of grim, fantastical, stoned doom.  Repetition is done just right – never too samey, but the monotony is an effective tool to drum home the heaviness.

There are considerably more tracks here than the first release, which was a mighty two-tracker.  Each, however, is satisfyingly lengthy and epic, and Conan do their thing with awesome effectiveness.  There are less frills to their sound than, say, the epic rock influences of Major Kong, with Conan peddling more of a Sleep-influenced template that lets the massive, crushing sound do the talking.  And that’s clearly no bad thing; this is a storming release and one that makes me want to hear more.

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