Monday, 2 August 2010

Conan - Horseback Battle Hammer

Conan have been anointed the genre caveman battle doom. Primitive and crushingly heavy it is also pretty nimble when they want to be. They use quick changes in tempo like a killshot. Their album Horseback Battle Hammer is available on vinyl from Throne Records and CD through Aurora Borealis.

The album is one of the most riveting and exciting doom releases I've heard for some time with many majestic and arresting moments spread across the record; The whole vocal performance it's unique; it's always a long distant lonely cry echoing through the wilderness/across the battlefield; almost anguished but not piteously, almost Ozzy Sabbathesque but more mournful - a howl into the winds of the North. Maybe the best Doom vocal I have ever heard. Musically the tempo changes fuel the more euphoric moments; The switch up from crawl to canter in Satsumo, 3:25 into Dying Giant when the sludgy head nodding plod breaks into a even more catchy and densely grinding riff, on to a peak where the drums bludgeon along savagely, double kick coming in shortly after to drive the climax upwards. Then, just as you feel like you have heard all this bands tricks they drop a blitzed white out guitar scree around 8:30 into the final Sea Lord, cascading a sheer torrent of noise down off the speakers unexpectedly before intensifying relentlessly out to the finish. Inspired.

These three guys do the crushing:

Jon Davis - Guitar / Vocals
Paul O’Neill - Drums
John McNulty - Bass / Vocals

Here's a video of their first live show in January 2008, but youtube just won't do the weight of this band justice, you really have to go and get this for yourselves.

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