Live at Freak Valley



by Gary Grump CONTRIBUTOR (49 Reviews)
November 9th, 2021 | 6 replies

Release Date: 03/12/2021 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cavemen in their natural habitat.

In time, UK’s battle doom trio slowly became one of the steadiest and most consistent bands within the sludge/doom army, as they constantly bombed us with brutally heavy releases during the past 15 years. Three years after their latest offering, Existential Void Guardian, they released their third live album, where they managed to outshine some of their earlier materials in terms of quality.

Most of the time live albums perfectly fit into the specific “nah / I don’t care enough” category of releases, probably due to the lack of truly noteworthy efforts. On the other hand, there are very-well executed live recordings (most of the time thanks to really professional equipment and that certain studio magic), still, most of the time they end up completely unnoticed, and couldn’t reach a wider audience. Live at Freak Valley stands as an example why live albums still matter, and deserves some recognition.

The success of Live at Freak Valley is rooted in two major factors. The first one is how Conan undoubtedly improved in time. The experience from the time spent in the studio and on stage definitely had a very positive impact on them, (as they have already shown that in Existential Void Guardian for example), as they became more mature. This can be observed in more adventurous guitar play, more bravery on the vocal front (kudos for putting a mic in front of Chris Fielding too), and perhaps the synergy between the members. The second factor of improvement relies on the technical aspects - and by that I mean everything from the slightest work on a guitar pedal’s settings to the last edit during the mastering process. The additive effect of these two major factors brought new life to certain songs, and generally helped them to create a perfectly enjoyable live album. For example, some of the band’s earliest songs, “Battle In The Swamp” or “Hawk as Weapon”, never sounded this good as they do in Live at Freak Valley. The result is far more (really far more!) energic, punchier and dynamic than what you can hear in the early demos or in their debut LP, Monnos. The same thing applies to the rest of the album as well: each song delivers the expected incredible heaviness, and leaves no space for complaints from any aspect.

I’m sure people who could attend had a really great time with Conan at the Freak Valley festival, and personally I’m especially glad they’ve decided to put together a live album as well. With the help of Chris Fielding at Skyhammer Studio, they managed to cement and nicely present their ferocious and colossal stage presence in this release. Live at Freak Valley is one of the rare kinds of live recordings which stands very well on its own, and offers just a bit less than an hour of massive caveman battle doom rampage.

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Contributing Reviewer
November 9th 2021


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

I really liked this one, exceptionally great live album.


November 9th 2021


There's a live video companion to Satsumo. I watch it regularly.

Staff Reviewer
November 9th 2021


Band's name makes me want to make a blood sacrifice in CROM's honor.

Digging: Blut Aus Nord - Disharmonium - Undreamable Abysses

November 10th 2021


Album Rating: 4.0

Totally deserved a review...thanks, Adam Grumpy!

Excellent performances here. Not a bum track in the bunch. My hands-down fave is “Satsumo” followed by “Revengeance”.

Too bad there were no EVG tracks on this, like “Volt Thrower” or “Prosper On The Path”. Still, it was a great idea to finally release this show officially.

Digging: Keith Jarrett - At The Blue Note: June 4th, 1994

Contributing Reviewer
November 10th 2021


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

> Band's name makes me want to make a blood sacrifice in CROM's honor.

Fuck yesssss, brother! m/

Thanks MetalMarcJK! "Too bad there were no EVG tracks on this" [2] Exactly! But still, the setlist was satisfying, imo.

Contributing Reviewer
March 23rd 2022


Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Ah, good to return back to this. Fantastic album for workouts!

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