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Mired in Darkness: Unpacking the Raging Metal Riffs of Conjurer

Thursday, 31 January 2019 Written by Matt Mills

Conjurer are a great anomaly within British heavy metal. In a genre where everything is divided into subsects—from glam to deathcore—these fresh-faced aggressors are all about demolishing boundaries and simply smacking the listener in the face with guitar-driven brutality.

“Our goal is to write riffs so good that they make people put their head in their hands, crouch on the floor and have an existential crisis,” vocalist and guitarist Dan Nightingale says. “We want people to look at each other and go, ‘Oh God, that’s disgusting!’ That’s the best reaction you can get.”

In their quest to find the greatest and most unapologetically savage metal riffs of all time, Nightingale and his cohorts have refused to stick to any one sub-genre or category. Their bleak music is equal parts sludge, death, black and doom metal, with the best elements of each niche combining to create anarchic, blistering tunes.

“We like to have a sprinkling of everything, because every genre has its golden moments,” Nightingale explains. “We have moments of black metal, doom metal and stoner music, but we’re not aficionados on any one of those things. When we look at each one, we’ll think it’s same old, same old. So we meld a lot of things because, ultimately, we don’t want to be put into one category.”

Conjurer first formed in the summer of 2014, after Nightingale and fellow shredder Brady Deeprose met during their time as local musicians touring the midlands. Drawn together by a mutual love of Gojira and the Black Dahlia Murder, the duo called on drummer Jan Krause and bassist Conor Marshall before debuting with their ‘I’ EP in 2016. “With the EP, we wanted the most hard-hitting songs to bust out of the gate with,” Nightingale says. “The one thing about it that we still admire is the brute force of it all.”

‘I’ was four songs of fast-paced, on-the-nose nihilism that sounded like Mastodon and early Paradise Lost crawling through a mile of viscera. It was a brief, promising snapshot that was succeeded 18 months later by the band’s first full-length, ‘Mire’, which, despite being the first album by an obscure, underground troupe from Rugby, was quickly hailed as one of the best metal releases of 2018. Its intensity, depressive tone and diversity made for a breath of fresh air, uniting the otherwise divided world of extreme metal, even if just for one moment.

“‘Mire’ was more progressive and dynamic than ‘I’’,” Nightingale says. “There was more of a focus on the calm, the melodic and the pretty, but still always something that just hit you in the gut. And I loved recording it. The two weeks we spent with [producer] Lewis Johns were two of the best of my life. Everyone in the band is my mate and we were holed up in this lovely studio in Southampton. I was ecstatic.”

Nearly 12 months down the line, the impact of ‘Mire’ is still being felt. Conjurer are continuing to promote their debut with an upcoming UK tour, quickly followed by a high-profile stint supporting progressive death metal darlings Rivers of Nihil in the US, and a handful of spring headline dates in Belfast, Dublin, Cork and Limerick.

“The whole point of the UK tour is, ‘Oh my God, we’re gonna lose so much money in America!’,” Nightingale laughs. “We thought, ‘Let’s do a load of dates and essentially become travelling t-shirt salesmen.’”

Conjurer’s UK leg is being promoted as the UK Riff Music Tour. While their music is deliciously dark and morbid, the poster for this trek reveals a jovial side to the band, prominently featuring pop star Carly Rae Jepsen.

“She is one of the three or four artists that all of us absolutely adore,” Nightingale adds. “Basically, what we’ve done is taken her album cover and, instead of having ‘Carly Rae Jepsen – ‘Emotion’, we’ve just put ‘Conjurer – UK Riff Music’. Initially I thought ‘Aw, no, people are gonna think we’re absolute idiots,’ but we are absolute idiots. We may as well own it.”

After warming up on home turf, Conjurer will be heading stateside for the first time in their careers, sharing stages with one of the US’s heavy-hitters. Nightingale likens the opportunity to winning a Golden Ticket to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and hopes for Conjurer to become ambassadors for British metal during their brief stay.

“It would be great to get into conversations with people and go, ‘We really love bands like Ohhms, Boss Keloid and Bossk,’” he says. “As cool as it would be to turn people onto our music, we would love to tell people, ‘Just check all their stuff out, too.’’”

If America can fall under the spell of these upstarts, Conjurer are destined to become riff-crazed leaders in the densely populated world of modern metal.

'Mire' is out now via Holy Roar Records.

Conjurer Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri February 01 2019 - OXFORD Bullingdon
Sat February 02 2019 - LEICESTER Shed
Fri February 08 2019 - CARDIFF Fuel
Sat February 09 2019 - BOURNEMOUTH Anvil
Thu April 18 2019 - BELFAST Palm House
Fri April 19 2019 - DUBLIN Fibber Magees
Sat April 20 2019 - CORK Fred Zeppelins
Sun April 21 2019 - LIMERICK Dolans

Click here to compare & buy Conjurer Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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