In 2016, Conjurer formed as just another band looking to do something in a heavy scene that was virtually nonexistent. Under two years later, that couldn’t be more different, now with the UK’s most abrasive, progressive acts at the pinnacle of what’s exciting in modern rock. Basically, the timing was near-perfect, allowing Conjurer to establish themselves with a well-received EP before making their impact with Mire.
And on paper, everything about this album seems to scream from the high heavens that Conjurer are exactly what heavy music wants right now, a truly devastating collision of death, progressive and post-metal that’s as heavy as it is stimulating. And while Mire is most definitely all of those things, it’s also a lot more, breaking free of any conventions and preconceived boundaries for an album that’s equal measures bleak, sprawling and gloriously enrapturing. For UK metal, Mire may be the first essential listen of 2018.
That’s in no small part down to the execution, both purely sonically and in the space that Conjurer give themselves to pack in every individual component. This isn’t a particularly lengthy album at only seven tracks long, but with most of them in the range of six to nine minutes, Mire becomes an album whose strengths are founded on how well Conjurer can blend together their myriad of influences. Take Hollow, which, across its six-and-a-half minutes, transitions from ethereal post-metal to meaty, sludged-out riff-fests, though never feels stilted in doing so. The blending between sounds is honestly incredible, even on Retch, the shortest track here which still manages to take its more conventional death metal sear into a low-end crunch that’s just as dirty and evil as this album’s title would suggest.
To nitpick, it’s easy to say that Mire isn’t particularly big on songs compared to compositions, particularly on its longer tracks, and while that’s true, in reality, it doesn’t matter. Conjurer’s brand of metal is most heavily reliant on technical proficiency and its own measure of riffs per square inch, and it’s virtually impossible to say that they don’t excel in either of these areas. Just look at the cavernous rumble and cold, pitch-black atmosphere of Choke and Of Flesh Weaker Than Ash to see just how fully-formed Conjurer’s vision is, and the stunning closer Hadal, a marriage of death metal savagery and sludge-metal riffs with the consistency of tar, is evident of band willing to take themselves far beyond any expectations.
Even now, Mire is a truly excellent debut, the sort of metal that’s played for the love of a mighty riff and nothing else. It might be exactly in line with what the underground has been massively adept at producing in the last couple of years, but that’s nothing to complain about, mainly because it’s another inventive and crucially brilliant heavy band to add to an ever-growing crop of inventive, brilliant heavy bands. Don’t sleep on Conjurer; this is what the face of metal in 2018 looks like.
For fans of: Employed To Serve, The King Is Blind, Venom Prison
Words by Luke Nuttall
‘Mire’ by Conjurer is released on 9th March on Holy Roar Records / Deathwish, Inc..