With heavyweights Architects headlining the 10,000 capacity Alexandra Palace earlier this year, and underground bands like Employed To Serve and Venom Prison going from strength-to-strength, you could say that the UK metal scene is having a moment.
Not to be outdone, Rugby upstarts Conjurer have been causing quite a stir these past few months. Having shared stages with the likes of Sylosis and Oathbreaker, and generating a fair bit of hype for themselves off the back of their 2016 EP ‘I’, they’re back with debut album ‘Mire’, and with it they’re here to prove that they’re a force to be reckoned with.
From the moment intro track ‘Choke’ thunders in, it becomes clear that Conjurer aren’t messing around. Undeniably sludgy, with tempo and time signatures refusing to stay consistent for more than a minute, the band start the record as they mean to go on – it’s going to be one hell of a rollercoaster, and it won’t give you a break from the corkscrews. This transcends seamlessly into the doomy ‘Hollow’, which is equally brutal; its thick, chunky grooves layered over breakneck drums from Jan Krause.
Dissonant chords ring out on the eight minute epic ‘Thankless’, combined with a bass rumble from Conor Marshall deep enough to rattle ribcages. All four members of the band are clearly outstanding instrumentalists: the shredding on ‘The Mire’ would make even Herman Li weep, and the vocals from both Dan Nightingale and Brady Deeprose are searing, with the cleans as equally impressive as the utterly blistering screams.
There are some softer moments – the introduction on ‘Flesh Weaker Than Ash’, for example – but overall this is an uncompromising, rampaging riot of a record.
This band are undoubtedly difficult to pigeonhole. They’ll no doubt be labelled as sludge for the sake of ease, but there’s elements of doom, tech, and even prog in here, and they’ve combined it all to create a sound that’s truly unique. In fact, one of the most notable elements of ‘Mire’ is the thread of melody woven intricately through the entire record, making it accessible to those who might otherwise be put off by seemingly endless drops and dissonances.
This is incredibly accomplished work for a debut, and cements Conjurer as one of the UK’s most promising new metal acts. Believe every bit of the hype.