Live Review: Conan – Birmingham

Live Review: Conan - The Asylum, Birmingham
7th November 2021
Support: Khost, King Corpse, Tumanduumband
Words & photos: Damian John

On a quiet Sunday night I find myself heading down to The Asylum, Birmingham, a venue which couldn’t be more appropriately named considering what I’m about to experience. Doom titans; Conan alongside Khost are out on a UK tour which started the night prior with their appearance at Damnation Festival Leeds. Joining them tonight and getting the show on the road are two local Midlands acts starting with Tumanduumband.

Drenched in black robes, the stage adorned with ram skulls and skeletons, Tumanduumband are about to hold their ritual. Literally holding an unholy communion for the crowd before starting, marking the sign of an upside down cross onto the foreheads of concert goers in blood. The band silhouetted, residing in the darkness, the room shakes from their incredibly bass heavy brand of doom, no vocals other than the cry of 'Hail Satan' from band and crowd alike. If the name didn't give it away Tumanduumband are just that, a two man doom band and considering the noise this duo create; it makes you wonder why most other bands need more than two members. They're heavy like you wouldn't believe but still manage to hold down a groove. Their half an hour ritual goes by incredibly quickly leading us into our second local band of the evening

Blood still fresh on their foreheads from the unholy communion, King Corpse open in a rather subdued manner with ambient notes ringing through the air. Of course this is all a front as they kick into their first track and give us a real insight into what they're all about. The room has started to fill a bit more now and many fans are seen nodding their heads to the quartet's fuzz heavy sound. King Corpse particularly shine during their instrumental passages featuring melodic guitar solos leading into their foot stomping lower tempo sections. As they hit their final notes a chant of 'Corpse Corpse Corpse' is heard and well deservingly so, no nonsense, killer metal.

Khost enter to the sound of slow chugging guitars and a trumpet which fills the room with a sense of eerie dread. Although they're also a two piece they're a completely different beast to the act prior. Khost have an industrial edge to their sound which compliments their more drone-like sections nicely, not that you’d refer to their sound as ‘nice’. Skull Crushing would be a lot more apt. Music aside to put it bluntly there's nothing going on onstage; it's all about the atmosphere with khost which unfortunately I think was let down by the sound of the venue partway during their set. Their oppressive wall of sound often turned to mush losing emphasis on what was actually being played and resulted in more of an uncomfortable buzz opposed to the earth ending rumble as heard at the start of their set.

Many fans have been eagerly waiting for Conan to take the stage, for some this would be the second night in a row catching the Liverpudlian doom trio as a few select audience members had travelled to see their set at Damnation Festival. Not that last night's antics had slowed them down mind you, or Conan themselves as vocalist Jon Davis introduces the band before ripping into 'Krull' to start things off. Conan hit hard, with an impressive ability to chop and change their sound when desired. Switching from full on oppressive doom into more groove filled uptempo passages on the drop of the hat, for the non-doom aficionados like myself, this really keeps things interesting. You can't help but nod along to the low tones echoing around the venue as they power through riff after riff with the fan favourite ‘Hawk as Weapon’ leading into ‘Volt Thrower’ being a particular highpoint of the set. They briefly take a quick break between songs to kindly thank the support acts before breaking into their penultimate song 'Foehammer', ultimately finishing with 'Painception'.

I’ve caught Conan live once before in a larger venue but there’s something to be said about having a band this monumental in a smaller 100 capacity room and really feeling the bass in your chest. This was a properly amazing show and a great way to end my week.

All Photo Credits: Damian John Photo

For all the latest news, reviews, interviews across the heavy metal spectrum follow THE RAZORS'S EDGE on facebook, twitter and instagram.