Conan / Bongripper Split

Last year we made great play about Liverpool doom merchants Conan, with their brand of super-downtuned slow doom.  And just as I thought they couldn’t possibly top their last efforts, they’ve just released a split ep with Chicago’s Bongripper on Lion’s Roar records, which showcases a new 16 minute behemoth, the subtly entitled ‘Beheaded’.

A drummed intro gradually gets overlaid with the deep, warm hum of their vintage valve amps.  This continues for a couple of minutes until the super low tuned riff kicks in, and it pretty much stays like that for the duration.  That is Conan’s trick – they simply use the riff to bludgeon you into submission, and somehow they make art using the most basic ingredients.

This is a corking track and a progression as well for the band.


Slomatics New Album Due Soon!

It’s been a while since either DeHud or I sat back on our respective charity shop armchairs, popped a Tennents Super and cracked open a Doom jam on the stereo.  Regular readers of Rip It Up will know that in between the piles of punk we throw around, we are both fond of slow, low and downtuned music too.  And so, as I reported some weeks ago, we can now look forward to another hotly awaited release.  This one is coming from Northern Ireland’s excellent Doom mongers, Slomatics, who are due to release their 3rd Album in September 2012 on 12″ by Head Of Crom and CD by Burning World/ Roadburn Records.

Entitled ‘A Hocht‘, this is an 8 track slab of heavily downtuned doom, which makes me salivate when I play the teaser track, attached below.  Coming with a killer cover design by Tony Roberts, this album continues the theme which I wrote about in my review of their split with Conan, whereupon I felt that the music summoned the righteous spirit that lies within rock ‘ n roll:

“My experiences have led me to conclude that the Lester Bangs / Julian Cope view, that there is a Righteous path that some music takes you down, is essentially correct.  There is a certainly a purifying element in the brutality of the music that Slomatics play; somehow, because it is so slow, so low and so brutal it transcends normal judgments that we make about any song we hear.  This has the magic ingredient – the thing that bands like the MC5 and Sunn, for example, were shrewd enough to see – that some musics are attuned so that they reach our [essentially Pagan] souls and, by arriving there, impart their message directly.  Slomatics have decided that, in this weakened state, any information that they pass to the listener will bypass their learned conditioning, and go straight into their brain!  Awlright!”

The guys have spent the summer playing live, often in the company of Liverpool doom lords Conan, and indeed they are due to play Edinburgh together on 11th August.  Check out the sample track below and get an order lined up for when this monster drops!


Comply or Die: Post-Hardcore from Northern Ireland

It’s funny how your discovery of new bands seems to take you on strange geographical trips, both real and metaphorical.  For example, I’ve just returned from the home of Rock’n’Roll and the Beatles, Liverpool [real], and in the last few weeks have been seeking out bands from Poland, Australia and now, it seems, the lush greenery of Northern Ireland [metaphorical].  And I’m glad I did.  For one of the bands I’ve unearthed has been Comply or Die, hailing primarily from the beautiful city of Belfast. 

Comply or Die came to my attention because I happened upon a split ep they did in April last year with the excellent Slomatics – whom I also discovered because they did a split ep with Conan, who of course hail from Liverpool, which takes us full circle again.

The band formed in 2008, and features Matt Crothers on Drums, Michael Smyth on Guitar and Vocals, and Ian Pearce on Bass and Vocals.

Following on from their 2010 release, the ‘Invocation‘ ep, ‘Depths‘ was their latest full-length album release and it also followed said split ep with Slomatics, 2011 being a busy year for the band.

Unlike Slomatics, who purvey the slowest of doom jams, Comply or Die offer more of a hard-hitting yet tuneful hardcore attack on their album.  Showing a load of styles that range from mid-paced hardcore to low-dirty riffs, the album pleasingly features a couple of instrumentals as well as more straightforward vocal attacks.  Heavy, thick riffs abound, with staccato drum slaps holding together the rhythm through varied changes of pace and time signature.  The style, always changeable, almost hints at a more heavy version of NoMeansNo in their earlier days.

The band has had a hiatus since the release, and I was eager to find out more about what they are planning.  I caught up briefly to Guitarist/Vocalist Michael on what the band is up to at the moment:

“At the minute we are just about to play our first show in about six months with War Iron & Astralnaut in Katy Dalys June 9th doors 5pm £3.50 in. We’re going to be playing some new songs we’ve been working on over the past few months. These songs have taken on a different feel to the previous material moving towards a heavier sound and songs that focus more on structure and riff rather than a lot of effects which the previous material was littered with. I think each release has seen us take steps away from the previous sound while always retaining the bands own distinctive wail.

Expanding on his description of the musical direction of the band , he added:

There’s also a lot more focus on vocals this time around and that’s something that has never been a big part of the band but this time there’s a conscious decision to have more vocals and put more effort into lyrics and vocal structure.

For those of us interested in what CoD does next, he offered a hint about where they are headed:

Were in the middle of planning a tour so that should hopefully see us finally play down south. Then past that we are still writing a lot of songs right now seeing what works and what sounds best then we will pick the best and record those so I’m sure there’s some kind of release not too far down the road.”

Check out the last album and buy it from the Bandcamp site here:


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.