Album review: CONAN – Blood Eagle

Napalm Records – Out Now.

As the birthplace of Black Sabbath, Great Britain has always been the ultimate breeding ground for Doom Metal bands, so the fact that Doom/Stoner trio Conan also hails from the Albion is no great surprise.

Having first formed in Liverpool back in 2006, this noisy trio released a string of Demos, EPs, and live albums prior to signing a contract with Napalm Records but it is with the assistance and guidance of the Austrian label that their second studio album entitled “Blood Eagle” came to life.

Though prone to some diversity, Conan are basically a classic Doom Metal band in the sense that their compositions are, rhythmically-speaking, fairly unadventurous and founded upon heavy-sounding, simple/repetitive riffs.

As an atmospheric instrument, Jon Davis’ vocals are happy to operate in the background, instead of being upfront, while the main focus of the heavily distorted repetitive riffs is to drag the listener into a state of semi-trance. So, what is this release’s target audience?

The truth is that you will have to be a fairly devoted Doom Metal fan in order to truly enjoy this album. Songs like the ten minute opener “Crown Of Talons” are designed with a very specific music fan in mind: specifically, those who would be happy to spend four minutes listening to the same riff performed over and over again, while Jon Davis’s voice screams ungodly messages somewhere in the background.

Somewhat more upbeat, but still quite simple in structure, “Total Conquest” offers a bit of variety, while the five minute “Foehammer” begins on a confident and high note, only to later wind down the levels of intensity.

The second half of the album offers more of the same. “Gravity Chasm” operates on a mid-tempo groovy pace, “Horns For Teeth” is a heavy but somewhat monotonous composition, while “Altar Of Grief” throws a couple of interesting rhythmical themes into the mix.

Being an album that adheres to the most fundamental of Doom Metal’s rules, “Blood Eagle” will mainly appeal to fans of classic Doom Metal and those who are no strangers to drone elements in music.

Whether or not it can also appeal to the average Metal fan will mainly depend on one’s personal mood and stamina. Anyone of you, though, who is brave enough to take up Conan’s offer, will have to prepare for a long and hard fight.

John Stefanis

Rating: *** (3.0/5.0)

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