Conan – Monnos

Matt Thomas - http://mattthomas.co.uk
Conan
‘s guitars are thick and encompassing like the sound of thunder, descending down on you with such gravity that once drawn in, you cannot simply back away. The riffs echo, brood and drone with an electric aura and rhythm that channel not merely a dark human emotion but a deeper primal force. Simply put, “Monnos” is fuckin’ monstrous!

Being quite repetitive, the tracks on this 2012 album are not about memorable choruses or melodies, but have to do with creating a certain sonic theme whose success depends on the group’s intent rather than technical ability. This may seem obvious to some but when dealing with such obscure song structures, this intent and its integrity have more creative weight than usual; in fact they are the track itself! – as can be heard on this effort’s excellent opener – “Hawk as Weapon“. That guitar riff may be 4 notes repeating this way or that, but don’t these ring true and powerful?.. point proven!

Drowning in this vast hypnotic listening experience you occasionally hear a voice shouting as if from far away; such refreshing and hard-to-define vocals these are, half singing half chanting their enigmatic messages. While “Hawk as Weapon” was a slow plodding beatdown, the pace takes faster tempos on next tracks “Battle in The Swamp” and “Grim Tormentor“. Avoiding having tracks that are too similar is achieved with the pacifying “Golden Axe“. Taking a break from Conan‘s usual destruction, this instrumental feels like a post-war wordless hymn.

The heaviness and eerie vocals largely return on “headless hunter“, though the drummer seems to take a less straight forward approach on this one, jamming freely between the chords and giving the song a less plodding and more flexible feel. Following a sinister outro, Conan end things as doom-ishly as they possibly can with “Invincible Throne“, a buzzing wall of sound trudging forward with giant’s footsteps. This is a monster of an album indeed.

7.5/10

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