Conan’s music is unashamedly heavy and furious. There’s little ability to escape the sonic onslaught once a listener pushes play on the U.K. band’s new record, Existential Void Guardian, which is out September 14 via Napalm Records. The intensity and fury rockets at the listener from all sides and piles on nearly endlessly.
Just trying to describe the music in terms of its heaviness wouldn’t paint the full picture, though. In this day and age, “heaviness” is vague and can be accomplished through any number of means, some more effective than others. Conan cuts through the crowd of bands, crafting a record that has strength to back up its intensity. The heaviness here is thick and earth-rattling, like a monster making its way along the earth. The title itself hints at the record’s dynamics. There’s a battle-reminiscent intensity to the sound. This guardian has something to do.
There are lots of points when bands dive deep into musical ravines and see just how low they can go, but there are fewer examples of bands filling in the gap between the bottom of the metaphorical ravine and our lives up here on the surface. Sometimes, excursions into deep, shaking musical territory sound more about an end goal than about the journey that takes one to that final destination.
With Conan, though, one can feel the substance. Rather than getting bogged down by the demands of any particular monotoned path, the band charges forward. In the midst of their swirls of fuzz and sludge, their galloping beats persist, keeping the invitingly monstrous mass moving forward. They sound as though they’ve synthesized various threads within metal and crafted something new and all-consuming. They blended it all up, leaving no sonic corner untouched, illuminating the dark and then filling it right back up again with their dark, heavy music.
Existential Void Guardian is a prime example of a musical undertaking crossing over from purely sonic, mental territory into the physical. You can feel it in your bones.