Monday, September 10, 2012

Class of 2012: Conan - Monnos

British doomsters Conan are a three-piece whose primary goal is to crush your skull.  And they do their fair share of crushing on Monnos, but instead of feeling laborious and drawn-out, it's actually quite enjoyable.

Opener "Hawk As Weapon" slowly churns along and is followed by the terrific "Battle in the Swamp," which speeds things up a bit.  Throughout the record, the vocals sound slightly distant, and on this track in particular, I'm reminded of Maynard James Keenan.  Next is "Grim Tormentor," with its added bonus of dual high/low vocals.  And just when you think the song is over, it decides to keep chugging along.

My only issue with this album is the instrumental "Golden Axe."  While far from terrible, it would be better if it were shorter (possibly cut in half) or if it moved forward and progressed.  It just doesn't go anywhere over the course of nearly six minutes.

Just when you think "Headless Hunter" is another instrumental track, the vocals kick in and you're caught in the middle of what sounds like some sort of ritual.  "Invincible Throne" closes out the album by slowing things down to a near crawl.  If the whole record were this slow, it would be an exhausting listen, but luckily, the tempo shifts keep Monnos interesting.

Conan does doom very well.  On Monnos, the drumming fits the music perfectly, and while the music isn't breaking any boundaries, it's solidly well-played.

Grade: A-  (90.4%)

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