Review: Conan/Deadsmoke (split) ”Doom Sessions Vol.1” [Heavy Psych Sounds Records]

Review: Conan/Deadsmoke (split) ”Doom Sessions Vol.1” [Heavy Psych Sounds Records]

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There’s no disguising this one is there? Doom Sessions Vol.1 very much does what it says on the tin. But this is not just doom… oh no, this is rail track heavy doom. Heavy Psych Sounds is an appropriate home for two of the most serious slayers around, Conan and Deadsmoke, who combine forces here for this monstrous three-track split release.

Liverpool’s Conan kick things off in their typically grandiose fashion before Deadsmoke deliver a meaty one–two of their own. Conan are a big enough beast these days not to toy around with splits but the concept clearly held appeal and in Deadsmoke they certainly have found kindred spirits.

If Conan’s contribution “Beheaded” sounds like their primal battle metal days of yore then that’s because it is just that. It’s an old recording – and one that appeared on a previous split with Bongripper a few years ago. If you’re not familiar then in typical Conan style, the epic 17-minute offering starts slow and gets slower!

The magnificent Merseyside juggernauts rush for neither man nor beast. What they do do is deliver unerringly heavy riffage at slow motion speed that builds tension and momentum throughout its stupendous journey. Very much in the vain of their early masterpiece “Hawk as Weapon,” Conan’s sound has naturally evolved in more recent times but this track still satisfies the doom demand although most diehard fans will have this monster in their holster already.

Deadsmoke are the lesser known of this union but the Italian quartet do more than just hold their own. Their first track “Dethroned Concrete” starts off in a similarly destructive and demonstrative tone as Conan, swaying, plundering, plodding… reaching deep into your subconscious. The final half of the largely instrumental track sees some unexpected and surprisingly slick gear changes, as first they ramp things up a notch or two and at one point even go into freefall with a psychedelic mash-up while still retaining that inner holistic doom traits at all times.

In smoke-filled doom academia circles, some may sniff at a song of a mere five or six minutes in duration, but that won’t be the case with Deadsmoke’s second offering, “Dead Minds Army”. A slow opening tempo builds into riffage of an ever-increasing tempo, the vocals become more fevered, as the hooves of the sonic sludge-filled stampede start to land with increasing force.

Coming in at just over the half-hour mark all in, Doom Sessions Vol.1 is of sufficient quality to already have us thinking sweet thoughts about a much-anticipated Vol.2.

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Paul Castles

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