Conan, ‘Monnos’: Full Album Stream
British Doom Metallers Conan have the kind of band name that fits their sound. The power trio’s mighty guitar riffs and their songs’ overall epic feel make their latest album, Monnos, ideal as the soundtrack to one of those sword and sorcery films that were so huge in the ’80s. Beastmaster anyone?
Already in stores overseas, Monnos will get a U.S. release on July 31. Stream the entire album and check out our new interview with Conan guitarist/vocalist Jon Davis where we chat about Doom Metal — imagine that!
Conan is another addition to your country’s fine tradition of Doom Metal. We can point to England’s gloomy weather as an obvious inspiration point, but what do you attribute to doom’s enduring legacy there?
To explain our tradition of Doom Metal bands you need look no further than Black Sabbath, for we all form part of this bands legacy. Black Sabbath set the scene for this form of music, and indeed ‘Heavy Metal’ and from this beginning a web has been spun. No matter where you sit on this web you only need look back to the centre and there are the lads in Black Sabbath. Conan, Slomatics, War Iron, Cathedral, Electric Wizard, Jackal Headed Guard of The Dead, Volition, Serpent Venom, Black Magician, Iron Witch, Wizards Beard, Slabdragger, Grimpen Mire, Pus and many other U.K. bands who play various forms of what popular culture would call ‘Doom Metal’ i.e. ‘Trad Doom’, ‘Sludge Doom’ ‘Funeral Doom’ or whatever – we are all evolved from Black Sabbath. All heavy bands got to where they are in a musical sense through either listening to Sabbath’s own riffs or listening to the riffs of bands who have fed off Sabbath’s riffs directly. This cannot be denied.
Because Sabbath started in the U.K., U.K. bands have all enjoyed some form of status as ‘U.K. Doom acts’. This is cool, but if you look at the U.K. bands I mentioned above you will see bands that are all distinct from each other in how they sound, look and behave. However, all heavy bands, regardless of what language they speak or where they call home, have one common trait and that is a shared musical lineage from the Kings of Heavy BLACK SABBATH – no matter how obvious or how subtle it may seem, we all drink from the same well.
Listen to Conan’s Monnos Album Below
Hawk as Weapon
Battle in the Swamp
The vocals on Monnos have more of an atmospheric feel than the in-your-face approach many other bands we cover here take on. Was that always the intention?
Yes, this was definitely a deliberate measure. Our vocals have evolved quite a bit since Horseback Battle Hammer back in 2009 / 2010. We have learned how to phrase our lyrics and project them in such a way so that they sound like anxious declarations from across a yawning void, rather than aggressive urgings of some ‘crazed warrior’ or whatever the uninitiated might expect from a band called Conan. Because of this we have developed a vocal style that I believe is very engaging for the listener, and from that connection to the vocals the listener is drawn into the song itself, this is how the atmosphere is felt. We don’t want to ‘sing’ and we don’t want to do that ‘growling’ thing, neither of which sit comfortably with us, instead we want the listener to feel like we are actually shouting at them and we want them to actually understand what we are saying, we almost want the lyrics to be ‘believable’, if that makes any sense, despite the far fetched nature of the subject matter.
If you look at the lyrics for “Hawk as Weapon,” they were inspired from a scene in a story where a Hawk was used by a Wizard to slay his foes. Imagine shouting these lyrics at a room full of metal heads while a wall of amps rages behind you, delivering feedback and tone, riffs and slamming drums. To Paul, Phil and myself, there is no greater feeling and while we are playing these songs live on stage, or even in our practice space they are every bit as real to us as the room we are stood in, and I think that helps make them appealing to people, because they can tell we’re not just going through the motions with some shit just because it rhymes.
Now that Monnos is finally getting a proper U.S. release, can we expect to see Conan tour here?
I believe that we will be visiting Northern U.S. before the end of the year. There are some plans underway right now on some dates and our label and management are working at sorting out some cool shows. Nothing is sorted yet, but we are well underway with setting it up. We’re very excited about this, as we see most bands don’t get the opportunity – so for us it’s quite important to set a good example and put on some good shows for our fans in the US. We sell plenty of merch in the U.S. and have plenty of friends over there, and so we’re happy that through the partnership between Burning World Records and Gravedancer Records we can reach out a bit further with our music.
Conan’s Monnos will hit stores on July 31 via Gravedancer Records.