March 19, 2012
Conan - Monnos (2012)
FUCKING A! The first full-length by British battle lords Conan (and by the way I still maintain that this is one of the best band names ever) has finally hit and it's a motherfucker of an album. If you've been following the band's previous EPs (namely, Battle in the Swamp and Horseback Battle Hammer) then know that Monnos carries on in the same vein, offering 40 minutes of crushing, oppressive doom metal that feels like a pack of mammoths stampeding over your ball sack. FEELS GOOD MAN.
Monnos opens with Hawk as Weapon (again, notice their penchant for awesome song titles) which immediately sets the tone for the entire album, delivering a crushing yet oddly groovy main riff which then sets upon exploring different variations, all while being accompanied by Paul O'Neill's rhythmic battle drums. Headless Hunter and Invincible Throne are both monolithic in scope and sheer heaviness, assaulting your senses with layer after layer of buzzing, plowing guitar riffs, while other songs, such as Grom Tormentor, pick up the pace and deliver unto thee slightly faster tectonic waves. There's also a tamer, Earth-like song right in the middle of the whole thing, called Golden Axe, which is probably here to give you a chance to take a moment and get your bearings before being crushed into submission again. Apart from this one, all other songs are permeated by Jon Davis' unique vocals, who sounds like a barbarian dressed in animal pelts shouting war hymns from a distant, snow covered mountain top.
The production is spot-on, managing to cast a shining light upon every reverb-drenched, sustained riff and balancing them nicely against the thundering drums and otherworldly vocals to create an atmospheric record that kinda makes you wish you'd roam the battlefield, warhammer clutched in hand, ready to strike down anyone foolish enough to stand before you. The artwork itself manages to keep Conan's tradition of depicting battle-worn warriors in cool stances, so points to them for their consistency.
Already Monnos is getting rave reviews and some people already rush to proclaim it record of the year. While I tend to wait until the actual end of the year before deciding upon my personal cream of the crop, there's no denying that Conan have managed to crank out an amazing album that will probably grant them entrance to the Pantheon of Badasses. They've also stated in a recent interview that they already have ideas for their second album, so hopefully I'll have my skull bashed in again pretty soon. Until then, Monnos will do nicely.