EP REVIEW: Conjurer & Palm Reader – Split

Release Date: December 13th 2019
Label: Holy Roar Records
Website: None available
Facebook: www.facebook.com/conjureruk / www.facebook.com/wearepalmreader
Twitter: www.twitter.com/conjureruk / www.twitter.com/wearepalmreader

Rating:

Splits and covers EPs can often be overlooked. There are your album fans who don’t feel the need to seek out every unheard track from an artist, as well as those who see no real benefit from listening to cover versions of songs of which they’re already familiar.

Going into this Conjurer and Palm Reader split covers EP, it’s likely that many may see this as a throwaway release, with the bands themselves subtitling the collection as “4 Covers No-One Asked For”. Be warned, this self-awareness is a total ruse, as what masquerades as two bands cobbling a few covers together for the sake of dropping an EP is actually a surprising, diverse, intriguing, and ultimately rewarding experience.

Conjurer‘s rendition of ‘Blood & Thunder’ by Mastodon is as faithful as it is heavy; pulling back on the original’s trash factor to imbue a deeper sense of groove. However, it’s their re-imagining of the under appreciated Slipknot gem, ‘Vermillion’, that demands the most attention, slowing the track to a sludgy, doom-laden pace, providing a far more gothic and malevolent energy than the original ever exuded.

Palm Reader‘s contributions follow the same pattern; a very faithful cover with some mild tweaking in the form of Rage Against The Machine deep cut, ‘Tire Me’, and a far more shocking version of ‘Circles’ by Thrice. The former trades Zack De La Rocha‘s Americanisms for a much more homely dose of British sass. Think early era Gallows through a sludge filter.

It’s on ‘Circles’ though, that the band commit to the hypothetical; offering what simultaneously feels like straight homage and total abandon. What initially appears completely faithful gradually unravels to bear enough passion and identity to subtly make their own. It’s this that elevates the release from well executed batch of covers to something truly engaging.

Two excellent young bands at the top of their game, taking some time out to offer an insight into their influences, and provide a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding listen. Complete with enough focus, ingenuity, and sincerity to make this collection more endearing than it has any right to be, both groups continue to showcase their resolve, and staggering ability.