Conan – Blood Eagle (Napalm Records)

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women!
Release Date: 
28 Feb 2014 (All day)

Crown of Talons, the opening song on Conan’s album, Blood Eagle, reminds me why I love doom: lumbering thick riffs that are so heavy that they have a physical presence. It’s like standing still, hypnotised while tidal swells of sound crash over your body, a visceral sonic experience.

To be honest, I’d never expected this from a band calling themselves Conan. Thrash, power metal or some other, more spry form of metal would seem to better capture the spirit of Robert E Howard’s iron-thewed barbarian. This English three-piece sound far more like some sort of gigantic, slow-moving elephantine creature that Conan would ride into battle … against a sorceror … crushing a million skulls of the vanquished.

This is lurching, crunching doom in the vein of Electric Wizard, Ahab and their ilk. While other contemporary doom bands are content to play low and slow, Conan have absolutely no problem changing gears to keep things interesting. But they excel in creating that hypnotic trance-like state that the best doom uses to transport you to other realms. While they may not take the listener to the outer reaches of consciousness, like Ufomammut at their best, or to the depths of bong-fueled satanic paranoia, like Electric Wizard, or on a seafaring voyage through the darkest depths of the Mariana Trench, like Ahab, this sonic journey across Cimmerian fields littered with the bloodied corpses of vanquished foes is almost as enjoyable as crushing your enemies, seeing them driven before you, and hearing the lamentation of their women, by Crom!