Tracklist1. Hawk As Weapon
2. Battle In The Swamp
3. Grim Tormentor
4. Golden Axe
5. Headless Hunter
6. Invicible Throne
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DAT TONE! Undoubtedly, the best asset Conan has in their arsenal is their absolutely devastating guitar tone. It may, in fact, be one of the heaviest tones heard on record in recent years. The sheer mass weighs this album down heavily without the addition of any other instruments. The problem with Monnos is that, outside of that tone, there is not much to separate it from the rest of the doom metal world. Instead, the album sinks under the weight of its guitar tone with nothing to keep it afloat.
To get an idea of what to expect on this journey, imagine the downtuned progressive sludge/doom of Hull’s latest album, Beyond the Lightless Sky, without the progressive element and slowed down even further. The fun psychedelic elements, which could add some buoyancy, are deep within the cavernous riffs, rarely coming out to play. Instead, Conan believes they have one job as a band: to pile doom riff over doom riff with little in between.
The problems of doom metal rear their ugly head often on Monnos. First, the vocals are that awkward yell/scream that is not quite melodic but not quite harsh. It usually works for the style, but here it adds to the overbearing nature of the album. The other main issue is with the songwriting, as the album spends too much time wading in slow textures; oddly enough, the moments when the tempo is sped up come out as clearly being the best parts of the album. Those are the aspects that are fun with this style: when a band you think will slowly bludgeon you to death with down-tuned riffs opens up to a freak-out session straight out of the 70s. Sadly those moments are exceptionally rare, as Conan prefers to stick with what they know: DAT TONE, and only dat tone…