ALBUM REVIEW: Pijn & Conjurer – Curse These Metal Hands

Release Date: August 16th 2019
Label: Holy Roar Records
Website: None available
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Originally a collaboration for 2018’s ArcTanGent Festival, the respective bands involved in this project clearly saw something in this beyond a one-off performance.

Thus we arrive a year later with members of Holy Roar Records heavyweights, Pijn and Conjurer, teaming up for a collaborative release, titled ‘Curse These Metal Hands’.

Judging by the name originating from a fictional band and UK comedy series Peep Show, and their somewhat comedic photo poses, it’s certainly not taken as seriously as their respective full-time bands. Still, don’t take that to mean that this is a joke band or project to dismiss in any way.

Relatively speaking, what we have here is half an hour of a more straight-down-the line-metal album compared to the bands that are involved are more widely known for, but not disregarding the complexities that draw listeners to their already existing work.

We open with the grand and exhilarating ‘High Spirits’, which is arguably the centrepiece of this project. This song is a truly uplifting, invigorating anthem, which will surely inject optimism into anyone who listens. All the way from the elongated build-up, something that both Conjurer and Pijn specialise in, to the soaring melodies, this nine-minute offering of unbridled joy is one of the stand-out songs of the year, and, more importantly, you believe every minute of this too. The three-guitar attack, courtesy of Conjurer‘s two axemen and Pijn‘s own Joe Clayton, really helps to accentuate the full and beefed-up sound of this record.

You could say that it sometimes veers towards each bands’ usual output at times. ‘The Pall’, led by Dan Nightingale and Brady Deeprose‘s distinctive shouts, is certainly close to Conjurer at times, yet its bridge, assisted by acoustic guitars, is another example of the depth on show. To top it off, Nick Watmough‘s tribal drumming helps to close out the track with us firmly in our seats.

A song like ‘Sunday’ shows that they’ve clearly further utilised their grasp of harmony and dual guitar leads more than their full-time bands too, taking far more from Baroness and Thin Lizzy than the likes of Converge and ISIS. This is another great slab of melodic doom, solidified by the lighter section in the middle of the songs, which warmly greets you before it gets beefed up, and serves as a memorable melody without relying on vocals.

This is different from what you’d expect from both Pijn and Conjurer for sure, but that surely serves as a strength. ‘Curse These Metal Hands’ is more or less the work of some of the best heavy bands that this country has to offer, showcasing more strings to their already mighty bows.