ALBUM REVIEW: Conan – Evidence of Immortality

9/10

Conan – Evidence of Immortality

Heavyweight doom metal outfit Conan releases their fifth studio album, Evidence of Immortality, via Napalm Records. Produced by Chris Fielding and mastered by James Plotkin, listeners should gird up their loins and prepare to be awestruck.

Guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis commented on the album, "'Evidence Of Immortality' was written between December 2019 and late 2021. As such, it has absorbed many of the emotions flowing through our lives then. The lyrics were written on the eve of the war in Ukraine, so they naturally deal with subjects such as victory and defeat, loss and hope, pain and determination, fear and hatred. Movies such as Conquest, Lord of The Rings, Fire and Ice, Krull, Beast Master, and Clash of The Titans once again provided inspiration for the songs' themes, as we maintain our determination to not write about real-world events. You want to escape? Throw this record on, turn the lights off and turn it up until your fucking ears bleed."

Made up of Jon Davis (vocals, guitar), Chris Fielding (bass), and Johnny King (drums), Conan was formed in 2006 as a two-piece band by Jon Davis, with Davis on guitar and vocals and Richie Grundy on drums. Grundy left and was replaced by Paul O'Neil, followed by the band taking a one-year break. After the break, Conan decided to add a bassist, which resulted in a revolving door until they finally found Fielding. O'Neil left in 2014. Rich Lewis took his place until he left in 2017 and was replaced by King.

Drop F tuning, massive drums, and harmonic subtlety set Conan apart from their imitators. Encompassing six tracks, Evidence of Immortality begins with the Shakespearean-titled "A Cleaved Head No Longer Plots," which opens on glaring feedback rolling into dark, slow guitars exuding bone-rattling vibrations, almost burying the drums. Once the lengthy intro ends, allowing the tune to take shape, the drums extend, and Davis's eerie, wailing vocals enter, imbuing the lyrics with hair-raising tones.

Highlights on the album include "Levitation Hoax," opening on brawny thrash metal flavours and then segueing into a rumbling melody dripping with oozing, obesely subterranean guitars, followed by a seismic tempo shift to a measured rhythm.

The intro to "Equilibrium of Mankind" belches forth on treacly guitars, followed by assuming a visceral, pulsing rhythm powered by King's walloping drums. Brimming with raw dynamism, the guitars pump out black, clotted colours.

"Grief Sequence," the final track, rolls out on blinding, drone-like feedback, transitioning to mammoth layers of coagulated leitmotifs topped by a braying organ-like wash of residual energy. Akin to a dirge for the Titans of old, the tune groans and moans with abysmal textures.

Crawling with dread and deliciously crazy, irresponsible barbarism, like a ground zero, slo-mo atomic hurricane, Evidence of Immortality releases a storm of grim, impenetrable gloom.

 

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