“Existential Void Guardian”

By Dr. Abner Mality

I’ve been following Conan’s path of plunder since their earliest days. They’ve established their own brand of tortured sonic doom and have adhered to it with rigid fidelity. Have they reached the point where they need to freshen things up a bit? That’s a bit of a conundrum.

They really have hammered their primitive and barbaric style into the ground. “Existential Void Guardian” sees no relenting. And there are times when it can be rather dull. But somehow, these tunes throb with so much raw power that they can’t be denied. “Prosper on the Path” is as close to an “all-purpose” Conan song as you can get. But with “Eye to Eye to Eye”, we get the full brute force of the band in full flow. “Amidst The Infinite” and “Volt Thrower” (groan!) are more stripped down muddy headcrushers with the typical yelled vocals amped to their highest. But it’s the last two tracks “Vexxagon” and “Eternal Silent Legend” that show  Conan can’t be stopped. Those tunes are like the lava oozing from the Kilauea Volcano…crushing sonic sludge.

We also get four live Conan classics here and actually the inclusion of these songs kind of drags things out more than they should be. By the time “Hawk as Weapon” crawls to a close, I had had more than enough of Conan.

Conan’s true riddle of steel is: how long can one wield the same sword before it becomes blunt? So far the answer is…not yet.