Review: Conan – Existential Void Guardian 8.5

  • Conan
  • Existential Void Guardian
  • Sludge/Doom/Melvins
  • UK
  • 2018
  • 8.5/10

Bandcamp

Doom was literally invented in the UK with Black Sabbath and now Conan are proving that they’re still doing it the best. It’s dirty – its outright fucking nasty. They’re overclocking the gain on this one to bring one of the sludgiest doom albums I’ve heard so far in 2018, it’s aggressive. I was surprised to find out these guys were a three piece because the thickness of the sound, it has not been compromised at all. It’ll be interesting to see them live when they come to Brisbane with Bell Witch on 10/11/18, I can’t wait after hearing this new release. We don’t get a whole lot of doom shows down here in Aus (even less funeral doom). Edit: And I missed out due to money 🙁

Speaking of Black Sabbath, there’s more than the “Sabbath created all metal” influence on Existential Void Guardian. There’s the gain and bass you’d expect but the vocals are also similar in the way that the lyrics are catchy and the voice is clear – at least compared to a lot of death/doom. It’s a crunchier, sludgier and angrier version of an ancient brooding sound. It’s very much a punk rock attitude on the formula that kicks hard and sounds fresh to boot.

Eye To Eye To Eye, the second track, is a pretty good example of the diversity in the vocals and how they shape the sound. He has enough of an arsenal that he can accompany any of the riffs and rhythms. There’s some vocals that almost reach full death/doom and there’s quite a lot of variants on the epic doom metal long cleans. It’s not so operatic as those classic records though, this is basically if Buzz Osbourne from the Melvins fully committed to a doom metal band – he always has that gargle in his voice. In fact, that’s really all I need to say about that because the comparison to Buzz is so apt. If you love Buzz, then you’re going to dig this.

 

 

A lot of the tracks are faster than I hear from most modern sludge, again referring to that bass tumbling sound of the Melvins. We start to get a taste of the slower tunes on the LP with Amidst the Infinite, a track stepping into the traditional doom sound for a bit where they take their time with each note leading up to the peak. Despite being slower the vocals still come in hot every time and stomp around with the music with wild abandon. It doesn’t change aesthetically from the other tracks, it’s just their signature sound slowed down and it’s great.

The vibe doesn’t change across the whole album. They did well to wrap this record up in their brand of metal, it feels full despite only being 35 minutes long on the standard release. That’s all you need for this much audio harassment. By the end it does start to tread on repetitive territory but opts to cut it short instead. The concluding track, Eternal Silent Legend is about as suitable as you could ask for an album ender. It goes back to the slower style from Eye To Eye To Eye and really rides out those last moments of those precious low tones. I haven’t thought to talk about the production and mixing this time around because these guys really know what they are doing. Everything is right where it belongs, and It leaves you feeling unsettled, pumped and worn-out as any decent sludge/doom should.

To sum it all up, this the doom LP you’ve been looking for this year along with Spaceslug and Bongripper. I can’t fathom any reality in which a doom metal fan or even just a metal fan would not like this.

 

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