12 O'Clock Track: Conan, "Older Than Earth" | Bleader

12 O'Clock Track: Conan, "Older Than Earth"

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The cover of Conans split with Slomatics
  • The cover of Conan's split with Slomatics
Liverpool trio Conan call their music "caveman battle doom," an invented subgenre that apparently dwells somewhere just shy of funeral doom but well beyond relatively swinging stuff like Electric Wizard and the Gates of Slumber.

That is, it's slow. Not as slow as, say, Moss—who I'm convinced can actually stop your blood from circulating—but still stupidly slow. With music like this, you don't listen for riffs so much as for the rich, chocolatey guitar tone (though I suppose a comparison to confectionery might seem silly for something as heavy as a neutron star). The riffs themselves are so dilated it's sometimes almost impossible to perceive their shapes—maybe if you scanned through the song on CD they'd be catchy.

I particularly enjoy the odd harmonic intervals between the parallel vocal parts, and between the vocals and the guitars—the singing does a fine job splitting the difference between "war cry" and "graveside wail." And the hi-hat business gives the beat an internal bustle that's much livelier than the mountainous plod of kick and snare.

But who am I kidding? The main reason I chose "Older Than Earth" as today's 12 O'Clock Track is the cover art. An armored warrior, wrapped in fur and carrying a lance, riding a giant snail? Never let it be said that metalheads don't have a sense of humor about how ridiculous their music can get.

The song comes from a 2011 split with Slomatics, a band from Belfast, Northern Ireland. Last month Conan released a full-length, Monnos, via Roadburn Records in Europe, and on July 31 it will come out in North America via Gravedancer.

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