By Dr. Abner Mality

More primitive than an amoeba and heavier than a swimming pool filled with liquid lead, Conan are back with six new songs of throbbing Neanderthal sludge. Last year, Earth released an album called “Primitive But Deadly” and it wasn’t bad at all, but Conan is far more deserving of that description.

Fans of previous records “Monnos” and “Blood Eagle” won’t be surprised by this. How low can you go? Conan plumb the very depths of down-tuned bass toned heaviness here. On “Throne of Fire” and the title track, they add a barbaric kick as the velocity goes above a crawl and hits with thumping drumbeats and aggression. But the template remains. That includes the odd vocals that combine clean and gruff. 

Is Conan trapped in a tar pit musically? Have they taken stripped down sludge as far as it can go? I think there’s a hypnotic fascination to this primitivism that resists all civilizing influences, similar to how their sword-wielding namesake rejected all attempts to tame him. When you hear the opening riffs to “Every Man Is An Enemy”, you will feel like killing your boss and eating his liver. With “Wrath Gauntlet” and “Earthenguard”, they push simplicity as far as it can possibly go. But rather like Windhand, they induce a trance-like feeling of power. As long as they can do that, Conan will continue to hew down all who oppose them.