Liverpool’s Conan are one of the most consistently uncompromising doom bands to emerge in recent years. The trio’s austere brand of heaviness is in the Sleep tradition,with the battle fetish of High On Fire. In the wake of last year’s third album Revengeance, this compilation collects 2009 rehearsal recordings and studio material from 2012.
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4/10 Conan Barbarian Customer review, 17th May 2018
Conan are without doubt one of the heaviest bands to come out of the UK, full-stop. Ostensibly formed in 2006 (more on that later), Conan came out of nowhere with their incredible 2010 debut Horseback Battle Hammer, instantly blowing the majority of the UK's doom bands out of the water. Their sound was unique, dense, and their songs felt otherworldly - the bowel-rumbling drop F tuning, Paul O'Neill's incredibly detailed drumming, and the vocal interplay between frontman Jon Davis and bassist John McNulty was nothing short of sublime.
By the time the band released their 2012 masterpiece Monnos, Conan were on a roll and had become internationally-respected doom legends. Monnos was spectacular - the perfect follow up and progression from their debut. The two albums that followed – 2014’s Blood Eagle and 2016’s Revengeance – were well-received but uninspired. The band had a unique sound and a template and it seemed like they’d started relying on simply being ‘heavy’ rather than writing interesting songs.
Man is Myth (Early Demos) is a collection of home-made practice room and studio recordings dating back to 2006 when the band was just a two piece through to 2012 and covers songs that eventually made it onto their first three records. Unfortunately, the sound quality on the earlier recordings is poor, and there isn’t enough difference between the demos and final recordings to make hearing demos of the later songs particularly exciting or revealing. The one gem for Conan fans is the unreleased (presumably Blood Eagle outtake) ‘Doomed Iron Boss’, a 15-minute doom behemoth that recalls their Horseback Battle Hammer era. Had this been released as a single, or held back for a split release it would have been a welcome addition to the Conan catalogue.
For Conan completists and uber-fans Man is Myth (Early Demos) will undoubtedly be a cherished addition to the collection of colour variants and picture disks of their previous records. However, for a more casual fan this record doesn’t do enough to warrant its existence.
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