ALBUM REVIEW – Dylan Carlson – Conquistador



For those already familiar with Seattle based drone rock pioneers Earth, you may have an idea what to expect from Dylan Carlson’s latest solo release. Earth’s journey around the sun has lead them to soften their sound since their mind shattering loud drones on their 1993 full length debut ‘Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version’. In particular, their ’00s discography highlights ‘Hex…’ and ‘The Bee Made Honey…’ left their Metal influences behind entirely, taking in mild touches of Post Rock, Psychedelic and even this Bluesy, Americana sounding twang on the guitars.

Dylan Carlson carries on this latter-Earth sound almost entirely by himself. Recorded by Converge’s Kurt Ballou at God City Studios and featuring sparse collaborations from Emma Ruth Rundle and his wife Holly Carlson (who graces the cover art), ‘Conquistador’ is instantly notable as being one of his most minimalist works to date.

Throughout the album there are no drums, Carlson basically just picks one riff and rides it out through each track. The tones captured on this record are exquisite, with each riff showcasing the aforementioned Americana twang and jangling fret twiddling. Though the tracks are super minimalist and repetitive, the entire album runs at just over 30 minutes, making it a breeze to listen to. Every track aims to reach the same conclusion, but the record is seemingly book-ended by the best and longest tracks.

‘Conquistador’ should be approached in the same way you would approach an Ambient album. The songs here aren’t trying to leap out at you and barely rest on a linear structure. Instead each riff will wash over you with a hypnotic atmosphere. For those who still think of Carlson as having any connection to Metal music, leave your expectations at the door, as this is the most chilled out release he has ever put out. ‘Conquistador’ isn’t immediately engaging or even remarkable from a compositional standpoint, but the atmosphere is strong and the vibe is very relaxing and dreamy. Let this album wash over you and don’t think too much about it. This is Ambient music for the electric guitar. 7/10.

Words: Chris “Frenchie” French

‘Conquistador’ is released on April 27th 2018 through Sargent House. 

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