Since Horseback Battle Hammer was my number 5 album of 2010, I was psyched to hear this one; so, through my bassiest active noise-reduction headphones, and then through my tank-like if outdated speakers as-loud-as-holy, I listened to the newest Conan opus, Monnos.
“Hawk as Weapon” opens, followed by “Battle in the Swamp,” both reiterating Conan’s MO: the Riff At All Costs– with some drums and bass and, oh yeah, a distant clarion call of a vocal in the background… it’s Clash of the Titans as doom metal soundtrack, or Robert E. Howard’s playlist of choice– Weird Tales as a metal ‘zine. “Battle in the Swamp,” at its end, manages to sound like an Antediluvian Helmet, one even more savage, crude and primal….
“Grim Tormentor” opens with Sunn O)))-like feedback and bass-heavy atmosphere, hitting the riffs at around 1:00… the Circe-in-the-distance-like vocals come in soon thereafter, a far-off invitation to come hang with drugged-docile wolves and lions guarding the Greek Goddess of Magic– oh, and the refrain is “METAL… METAL!”
“Golden Axe” is pensive over its 5 minute running time, single guitar tones, Manowar-ish, something like the intro to “Defender,” “Headless Hunter” is even more stone-age primal than preceeding numbers, all tribal tom-hits and open chords way detuned… that is, before closer “Invincible Throne” hits, with its nearly-9 minutes of stone/bronze age riffs….
Why am I using so many real and/or fictional mythological references? Because Conan, and Monnos, are that Goddamned Metal.
Monnos is The Sword if they were even more stoned and no fucks whatsoever were given.
There’s nothing new on Monnos, overall; just pure (very very pure) doom metal, done as passionately and well as is possible by British mortals who are obviously descended from Cimmeria.