The first moments of ‘Blood Eagle’ are somewhat deceptive. Liverpool’s Conan set the sonic density bar so high with their first couple of releases that you’d be forgiven for thinking that they’d gone all polite this time.
But no, it proves ruse. This third album proper from the trio soon proves itself the most crushingly powerful 45 minutes of metal Clash has heard in some time.
Conan have riffs, and from this evidence they may even have all the riffs. But what sets them apart is their incredible talent for grooves, and even hooks. The increased focus on tempo changes and tighter songwriting has paid off massively here. It seems blasphemous to describe these songs as catchy, but it’s rare to hear a record this heavy that remains so consistently interesting and fun to listen to.
The one-chord outro of opener ‘Crown Of Talons’ is so huge you wish it would go on for days. ‘Gravity Chasm’ is as epic as its title suggests, and ‘Horns For Teeth’ takes the pounding of early Swans and ups the heaviness to the power of 10. It’s just brilliant.
And while thematically Conan are focused on a fantastical past full of mythical beasts and battles, there’s a wide streak of modernity throughout the music itself that renders it fresh and vital. The production and mastering make the very most of the low end too, ensuring this a neighbour-bothering album at any volume level: which is how it should be.
In ‘Blood Eagle’ Conan have released one of the best metal records so far this decade. Incredible.
Words: James Barry
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Listen to ‘Blood Eagle’ in full via Deezer…