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Conjurer - Mire (Album Review)

Thursday, 15 March 2018 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Riffs. Massive, bestial riffs. Riffs that link thrash to ballads and the epic with outright savagery. Riffs to write home about. Riffs to introduce to your parents. Riffs that pull together bands like Converge and Emperor, Metallica and Mayhem. Riffs that ensure Conjurer are at home alongside such luminaries.

Hailing from Rugby in the midlands of England, Conjurer’s sludge-drenched, brutally dense metal could easily have found them lumped in with a slew of bands trying to ape neighbouring Coventry’s death metal elite, Bolt Thrower, or the region’s prophets of doom, Cathedral. Instead, this wet-behind-the-ears four piece have taken the coma-inducing, funereal racket of their previous output and thrown the kitchen sink at it on their debut LP, ‘Mire’.

And it is fascinating. There are drawn out notes here that deliver enough dread to thrill Peep Show’s Superhans, and there are doom-laden, weighty riffs fit to wind Tony Iommi.

Conjurer’s first full-length doesn’t skimp on these moments – nor should it, given the comparisons to Mastodon that accompanied their previous EP – rather it embraces them as a base for everything else they want to achieve.

And ‘Mire’ does do pretty much everything. It does hardcore, post-rock, death metal and black metal, all to the same high standard. Of Flesh Weaker Than Ash is Cult of Luna by way of Belphegor, with mesmerising progressive passages battling with multi-layered, feral blackened death metal vocals. Hadal picks up the progressive gauntlet and hurls it into Hell, the bass drop into the final build enough to make anyone weak at the knees.

Conjurer’s understanding of metal runs deep. They try their hand at just about everything and pull it off. By the time you’ve got a handle on opening track Choke’s melodeath, At The Gates-esque passage, the rhythm section lurches into a semi-mechanical, Meshuggah-on-the-lash chug.

Brady Deeprose’s snarling, downright filthy screams are the antithesis of radio-friendly, but when you juxtapose them with a wildly catchy chorus on Thankless you strike gold. Gold hidden between While She Sleeps gang vocals and shouted from a Norwegian mountain range.

When it goes black metal, it’s as icy as Mayhem, Emperor or Immortal. When Retch kicks in, the urgency, the sheer thrill of it claws at the necks of Converge, Employed To Serve and Code Orange. Much like Rolo Tomassi’s recent ‘Time Will Die And Love Will Bury It’ album, everything Conjurer do here is reminiscent of their influences without ripping anyone off. They’re advancing the conversation.

This is metal for everyone who’s ever banged their head, stroked their chin or thought ‘Yes, that’s a good riff.’ This is metal for people who want heavy; metal for people who want an atmosphere, a world to dive into; metal for people who want to be challenged. Conjurer have stitched the best of the best together on ‘Mire’. This is the start of something truly special. And it is just the start.

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