Conan / Bongripper (Holy Roar Records)
DL / Vinyl
Coming at you on one of Louder Than War’s favourite label’s, Holy Roar, comes this doomtastic split EP featuring old masters of the genre, Bongripper, and the young pretenders, Conan.
Emerging from the gloom comes an itchy repetitive percussion, steadily increasing in volume and clarity before it ruptures into a monstrous sludge riff. It sets an ominous tone for Liverpool’s Conan and their side of the split 12” with fellow doom horsemen Bongripper.
Released on label Holy Roar, it’s assault on the world is a celebration of both band’s upcoming joint UK tour. Two apocalyptic bedfellows at different stages of their careers – Bongripper have long been nestled in the heart of doom lovers and up n coming new kids Conan are snapping at their heels.
‘Beheaded’, Conan’s 17 minute doomy drone epic is a diabolist audio punisher. The scouse lads have been garnering a reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting and crushing doom bands, mainly due to their punishing live shows and the fact that they sound like the bastard spawn of Boris and Sunn O)))’s ‘Altar’.
‘Beheaded’ is shamanic in it’s repetition – in 17 minutes you lull back and forth, like a demented viking high on mushrooms and steadily rowing towards British shores. Vocalist’s John and Phil lead the way with barely coherent chanting and you feel like a wretched soul actually fearing for their head. It’s length may be a challenge to some however, but doom lovers will relish this and probably put it on repeat. It’s slow and immersive, and we want to say with a straight face; dismally, hypnotically sexual.
Step up Bongripper, and their equally augural offering instrumental ‘Zero Talent’ (they’re ironic, them Bongripper lads!). Static and a steady beat reverberate for a few seconds before the inevitable acid mantle shifting sludge riff. The cymbals here are brutal and insistent before a solid kick drum forms the backbone of the haze. And herein lies the magic poison of Bongripper – they are all chaotic down tuned riffs and smother, with a groove led percussion lifting it from the dirge. Seven and a half minutes and the shit really kicks off – the riff retains the same slow pace, but the percussion goes beserk, d-beat style and suddenly we’re itching to hear this live. At nine minutes in length it feel over too quick, you just settle into the gloom, then adjust to the quickened pace, then…over. Oh Bongripper, you leave us gagging for more!
This 12” with no collective name establishes each band at exciting points in their careers. It is Bongripper’s ‘Zero Talent’ that dominates here but that’s no surprise given their experience and history. Conan are showing us a glimpse of what’s to come. They’ve got the muscle, they’ve got the reproachful soul and they sit nicely here with big brother’s Bongripper. It’s live that this band show us what they can do. It’s brutal, and you will do well to pop in the ear plugs (you’ve got them left over from Sunn O))) last year, right?). This upcoming tour is an exciting prospect (with Human Fly in support too) and whether you want to see a band at their height of their career, or one who’s climbing fast behind them, this is an essential date in all doom lovers calendar.
Remaining dates on their tour:
All words by Jessica Charlotte Crowe. This is Jessica’s first piece of writing for Louder Than War.