Existential Void Guardian by ConanRelease date: September 14, 2018
Label: Napalm Records
Warrior: Conan, what is best in life?1
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear… the new Conan album Existential Void Guardian! GRrraahhHHH!
Yes, the mighty metal trio of sludgy, slow fistfuls of fuzzy doom known as Conan have returned with their fifth album entitled Existential Void Guardian. The band add to their impressive discography with another glorious visit to the despondent, grim soundscape that Conan call home.
If Revengeance was Conan dipping their toe in the experimental metal bog then Existential Void Guardian is a return to straightforward chain mail adored, hammer smashing doom metal. Huh! This album is a realm of warriors, steel, mud, magic and conflict which is echoed in the fantasy album art and videos. Jon Davis’ distinctive vocals are like repeated battle cries, with bellows of aggression, biting rage and palpable fury. I really like his vocal delivery. It is powerful and dark without resorting to incomprehensible guttural vocals.
The deep, dank bassy tone that has become Conan’s unparallelled signature shows its full potency throughout this monstrous album. Your speakers will pray for a reprieve, walls will shudder and hangnails will strain under the band’s unrelenting sonic muscle. While the weight of sound is mighty, it is equally melodic, if not downright groovy, head bobbing madness. The killer track ‘Vexxagon’ exemplifies this. The bassline, oh man!, Chris Fielding’s bassline… it just hangs there looming like a black cloud while guitar and drums lurch and jerk forward with shrewd, ghoulish steps. Both ‘Eye To Eye To Eye’ and ‘Eternal Silent Legend’ are a captivating balance of melody and crawling sonic wrath. It is equal parts menacing drums by Johnny King and bursts of fuzzy, scaling riffs. Conan ratchets up the pace with a short, frantic, blast of belligerence they astutely called ‘Paincantation’. It may catch you unaware – you’ve been warned!
This album reasserts Conan on the throne of Doom Metal. Every track on Existential Void Guardian brings the goods. And the goods are a heavy, slog through some fine riffs, turbulent drums and that grim, soul-crushing, bass tone…
I bow before thy sonic might!
1. Reference from the classic Conan the Barbarian.