Existential Void Guardian marks the Liverpudlian doom trio Conan’s fourth studio record in just six years and is the first recording with new drummer Johnny King at the helm. Labelling themselves as “caveman battle doom” is apt, considering their sound resembles a lumbering giant dragging their hands behind them whilst destroying everything in their path.
The new album starts with a crackle of loud static followed by a monumental burst of energy and precision on “Prosper On The Path”. A slow-burning guitar riff comes to the fore to help the track on its way and ends with an exquisitely groovy outro guitar riff full of grime and low-end feedback, complete with unidentifiable lyrics courtesy of harrowing screaming with which vocalist Jon Davis really rattles the foundations.
“Amidst The Infinite” takes the standard doom template and repeatedly smacks it against a huge lump of stone for the first couple of minutes of this song; the resulting bone-thuddingly heavy doom riff shakes the inside of the listener’s skull quite convincingly. Faint hints of vocal melody seep through to give the track a bit of diversity and to balance the majority of the psychotic screaming. This melodic characteristic of Conan’s sound is certainly welcome in order to stop them from being completely one-dimensional. Meanwhile “Volt Thrower” houses the catchiest riff of the record, and ensures a few minutes of head-banging goodness.
Beware the electric wrath of “Volt Thrower”!
With the finale “Eternal Silent Legend” clocking at the seven-minute mark, it trundles along at a lumbering pace with the odd touch of melodic guitar strumming present. There’s a tribal tinge to the incessant hammering on the drums, which complements the harrowing vocal display whilst producing a thunderous cacophony of noise.
For a three-piece, Conan still makes a hell of a racket, and they’ve created a piece of art that should be appreciated by extreme heavy music lovers everywhere.
Existential Void Guardian Track Listing:
01. Prosper On The Path
02. Eye To Eye To Eye
04. Amidst The Infinite
05. Volt Thrower
07. Eternal Silent Legend
Run Time: 35:09
Release Date:September 14, 2018
Record Label: Napalm Records