Conjurer – Mire
Review by Neil Ainger
Conjurer are a band that have been making a name for themselves the tough way, through hard work and touring. Following the release of their first EP ‘I’ in 2016, the band hit the road at every opportunity and were met with praise and open arms seemingly everywhere they went. Frustratingly, I was never able to attend a local show whenever the band came through Newcastle, and at Damnation Festival in Leeds I was able to see the extent of the praise the band are receiving when I simply was not able to even get anywhere near the stage on which they were performing. Conjurer, many will tell you, are the real deal.
The 4 piece from Warwickshire have created such a stir over the last 18 months or so that they already feel like a trusty piece of the UK extreme metal furniture and it is actually rather odd to think that this is the band’s debut full-length release, because it sometimes feels as though they have been around for much longer than they have. At times a band can take a few records to find their feet, and other times a debut album can become so anticipated that it’s very difficult for it to be anything other than a disappointment. On this occasion, neither of these scenarios is true of Mire.
Brady Deeprose (guitars/vocals) has been quoted as saying, of their approach to making the record “Once you start thinking about songwriting in terms of genre, you’re automatically setting up barriers between parts” and this outlook is really laid bare. The band visit death, doom, sludge, black and beyond while some post-rock-style sections blend the frequent and abrupt mood swings of the record together seamlessly. At times the resulting sonic assault sparkles in an atmospheric glow, while always being destined to viscously return to depths of misanthropic bleakness and Converge-like violence.
Opening track Choke offers a slow burning introduction to what lies ahead with repetitive, chugging sludge riffs and restrained, minimal drum beats before taking the first of many sharp turns of pace and hinting subtly at the album’s probing and exploratory nature.
The longest track on the record, Thankless, clocking in at 8 and a half minutes, immediately launches into a fury of driving blastbeats yet swerves through melodic choruses backed by clean backing vocals and back again with an expertise you won’t find on many debut efforts.
All of the differing influences perhaps converge best during the brilliant Of Flesh Weaker Than Ash. For over 7 expansive minutes the band’s ability to intelligently craft charming melody, interrupted by sudden and impactful brutality, while blending tight and technical instrumentation, is expertly encased in arguably the band’s most profound statement to date.
Believe the acclaim and embrace the hype because Conjurer have created a debut album way beyond their years and the scary thing is that this band is only going to grow stronger with every show they play, and unless they show any signs of slowing down then the sky could really be the limit in the coming months and years.
Mire is released 9th March 2018 on Holy Roar Records