Patience is a virtue, and Conan will reward those who don’t jump ship five minutes into the engrossing “Crown of Talons,” the 10:06 behemoth of monstrous, primeval doom metal that opens Blood Eagle.

Emerging from earth’s deepest, darkest bowels to take stock of humanity in all its ugliness, the Napalm Records release Blood Eagle is a ponderous beast of a record, its enormous riffs – corroded by distortion and tuned down to dredge the bottom of some polluted lake – towering high above apocalyptic scenes of death and destruction. Flooding into the similarly cast “Total Conquest,” “Crown of Talons” is spellbinding, an arduous, trudging death march into a blackened pit of despair.

And it is a long, long hike, the terrain growing more and more treacherous with every step. Change comes slowly, as midway through “Total Conquest,” Conan starts to churn and writhe, before returning to its well-worn path of devastation. The heaviest sludge to navigate is found in “Horns for Teeth,” its malevolent growl that of a massive, feral animal that wants nothing more than to crush the bones of its prey into powder and feast on its flesh. There is great torque in the riffs of “Altar of Grief,” and it is an incredible seismic event.

Blood Eagle makes SUNN O))) seem like easy listening, and it doesn’t quake in fear of Eyehategod, as the vocals, sounding so distant, seem to come from a place of unbearable pain and the guitars dwarf mountains. Rarely, however, do these English dregs stray from that monotonous tempo and sound that they live in, and Blood Eagle becomes the ultimate test of endurance, causing many to flee in fear or out of sheer boredom.

Label: Napalm Records