What a nice, gentle way to start 2016; getting your skull caved in by caveman battle doom progenitors Conan. There was the usual shifting of personnel in 2014, but I guess that’s the way it goes at these rock ‘n’ roll shows and here they are, still, as monolithic as ever. The follow up to 2014’s Blood Eagle shows perhaps a tiny bit more progression into a sharper sound (by their enveloping sludge standards you understand) and maybe a teeny tad more of that stoner hookline, but essentially this is simply Conan doing what Conan do best. That means a relentless avalanche of sludge doom riffing descending onto you cranium as the sometimes hypnotic rhythm drags you deeper and the crying vocals sound your last lament. There is nothing here that is going to win new fans among people who have heard and discounted them before, but it may well have existing fans nodding in renewed reassurance, which is cool. Yeah, ‘Revengeance’ is more a reaffirmation, a gathering of the Conan Clan, a nod of contentment.
That of course, with Conan, means genuinely great songs. The fifty odd minutes of Revengeance simply fly by rather than tramp on forever. The title track in particular with its shocking initial turn of speed led by the galloping drums is a big fat grin inducing bit of tribal punishment. ‘Every Man Is An Enemy’, too, has in irresistible momentum, a genuine catchiness that belies the huge great riffs. Closing snail speed epic ‘Earthenguard’ with a kind of drone vibe as the edges of the riff seem to dissolve into fuzz is a fine, engaging bit of moodiness with the added spice of a snaking stoner tang to the guitar in places. The wonderfully named ‘Thunderhoof’ has a determined and bloody minded maliciousness to the shortened riffs and well used mixed vocals. Opener ‘Throne Of Fire’ has a downtuned, almost Celtic Frost feel to the guitars, hints of discordant ‘melody’ and turns of speed that mix up the pace nicely and ‘Wrath Gauntlet ‘ is an excellent slow wave of punishment.
So there you have it. No surprises, just Conan being Conan and presenting us with six excellent pieces of mountainous heavy, sludgey, stoned doom metal, finely crafted to crush and pummel. Really, you can’t say fairer than that. If you have been hiding under the one rock they haven’t pulverised yet, then give this a go. If you know and love them, then rejoice for this is Conan. Crush. Kill. Destroy.