Reviews

Dylan Carlson
Conquistador

(Sargent House)

9/10

Suitably named for a time of renewed bloodthirstiness, the latest album from the reformed doomy badass, best known for his work with leftfield metalists Earth and a close orbit to Kurt Cobain, is a return to form.

In his new role as cool step dad or uncle who can fix things, Dylan Carlson has recently shown a dippy, Aulde Fairies-type tendency. However, like other indie notables who’ve moved to the UK, the US political scene appears to have roused a seriousness and urgency in his work, and from the outset of its 13-minute title track, ‘Conquistador’ is a heavy fist-clenched beast.

It’s tempered though: the minimalist ballistics of ‘Pentastar’ are married to the cleanly-ordered, flowing country gothic of ‘Angels of Darkness, Demons of Light’ on a tidy 31 minutes. The press biog that accompanies the release cites the influence of Cormac McCarthy’s ‘Blood Meridian’ and a sense of Southern poetics and desert spiritual abounds, recalling ‘Hex’.

From the ranging, Morricone-flecked opener through the melodic bong toast ‘Scorpions in their Mouths,’ the record swerves on an open road of tone, conjuring landscape, history and sublime horror, until ‘Reaching the Gulf’ beautifully ties it together. Emma Ruth Rundle’s baritone and slide guitar, and his wife’s percussion work are called upon to thicken and brighten the texture at points, while never throwing off the determined pulse of Carlson’s riffs.

The result is minimal but hooky, expansive and easy in feel despite its abrasive contents, suggesting the kind of happy place you’d presumably be in to put your spouse on the cover.

Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines

As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.

Having thought about the best way to support the costs of what we do (the printing and server fees, the podcast and video production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for is a recurring payment of £3 per month for UK subscribers. If you really start to hate it you can cancel at any time. The same goes for European subscriptions (£6 per month) and the rest of the world (£8 per month).

It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door, and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.