Conan Say :- Conan come raging and roaring out of the old port of Liverpool, and they intend on blasting your aching bollocks off. Buy or borrow ‘Horseback Battle Hammer’, their universally praised debut outing from 2010, and experience the most dense and down-tuned brutality heard since Sleep’s ‘Dopesmoker’ first hit these aural caverns. Now they are poised to release a split album with Belfast’s damn fine Slomatics (like the debut album, executed at the legendary Foel Studio in deepest Wales, with producer Chris Fielding at the helm). This new recording denotes a remarkably psychedelic progression in Conan’s sound and song writing, but sacrifices none of their trademark super-heaviness.
Slomatics say :- Slomatics are a heavy rock band from Belfast Ireland, formed in 2005 with the words of Can’s Jaki Liebezeit ringing in their ears – “Monotony is a good thing”
With this aim the band stripped away all the fat, and focused their energies on the singular power of the riff, aided by a slew of Matamps and fuzz pedals. Ditching the conventional concept of a bassist the band use low frequencies and minimalist rhythms to hammer home their message.
We say :- An eagerly awaited recent arrival at CackBlabbath was the split E.P. from those good people at Head Of Crom records featuring two bands with a reputation for unparalleled pounding heaviness. First up in this battle of extreme-low-frequency heavyweights is Liverpool three-piece Conan who set the standard early on with the sledgehammer to the skull heavy Retaliator which along with the grinding riffs and thumping drone displays a psychedelic leaning which adds something a little extra to the 6 and a half minutes of grinding, droning doom.
A damn good start….
Obsidian Sword is an almost ethereal, ghostly spoken word piece that, if I’m honest, works better than you may expect (with a guest appearance by ex-Hawkwind stalwart Dave Anderson doing nothing to harm the band’s psychedelic credentials) before we’re dumped back into the awesome plodding, crushing power of the epic (well, 11 and a bit minutes) Older Than Earth. It’s as if the Conan have listened to some of the heaviest, slowest, most crushing doom and thought… nah, too cheerful, needs to be heavier, slower and more crushing.
Good stuff, so over to Slomatics….
Their contribution to the split opens with Lose The Five which immediately shows them to be equally heavy, they reckon their sound shares some DNA with The Melvins, and that’s an opinion that’s difficult to argue with.
Even with the cow bell.
Although it’s still super-heavy sludgy doom it’s more “traditional” and not as adventurous as Conan’s efforts. Whereas Conan’s half of this release contains a degree of variation, effectively split into two by Obsidian Sword, there is no such let up in the Slomatics half. The net result is that their three tracks seem to run into each other with very little variation to wrap your ears round. That won’t be something that will put off genre purists I’m sure and it’s certainly a fine example of how heavy it’s possible to go, but it’s just that for me within the confines of one side of an E.P. Conan’s effort works better.
The initial release of this split will be on sky blue vinyl on Head Of Crom records, with the larger format beautifully showing off the stunning art work by Tony Roberts (Electric Wizard, High On Fire). If you want one you’ll have to be quick as it’s limited to just 300 copies initially, although that will be followed swiftly by a CD release via Aurora Borealis.