Text and Photos: Colton Bills
When the mighty CONAN comes to lay waste to your town, you gotta check them out! I was really lucky that they played a venue 20 minutes from my house with two other awesome bands at the last stop on their recent North American tour, in Vancouver.
Local stoner/doom band KOMA opened with their “drug induced doom.” I liked them a lot, they were loud and rowdy and heavy. Nothing pretentious, just straight up heavy. They play sickening music about drugs, death and hopelessness. They were a great opener, and there is a lot of talent in that band – keep your ears open for them!
When Serial Hawk started playing, I almost lost my mind! Their music is loud, swirling and hypnotic with hammering riffs, an impeccable rhythm section and vocals that go perfectly with their pummeling wall of psychedelic sound. They can hammer out riffs without them getting boring. Their name conveys what their music is: repetitive to the point of hypnosis, and soaring straightforward to achieve the catharsis or vibe, or whatever you want to call it. Like an outward spiral going on forever, to me their music is not contained, it just is, and these guys are able to channel it into what Serial Hawk is.
Finally, CONAN took the stage, only the blue lights on, the drummer obscured behind his array of cymbals. Renata and John, both hooded like doom metal wraiths, wielded their instruments like ancient weapons of sonic annihilation, and with an army of amplifiers at their backs, ready to unleash upon the audience. They took the stage and ripped into it. To say this band is loud is an understatement. They play no-frills, crushing, knuckle-dragging, war music. They have been referred to by themselves and others as “caveman battle-doom,” and that is honestly the most accurate way to describe them. They are the sound of Genghis Khan on the Mongolian Steppe, the sound of the earth cracking down its center. The personal highlights for me were seeing them play “Foehammer,” and the 12 minute dirge “Earthenguard” as the set closer.
The sonic monolith of CONAN is a force to be reckoned with. It is battle music, the perfect soundtrack to destruction. If you are a fan of loud, heavy and destructive doom, go check out CONAN the first chance you get.