Few bands are held in such high esteem as Warwickshire outfit Conjurer. The quartet has been at the epicentre of a fine, spine-crushing storm for most of the past decade, winning their way to Bloodstock via Metal 2 The Masses and then returning in their own guise as a main stage act.
Their 2018 release Mire featured highly in many year-end polls, and the band’s hard-working touring ethos has earned them more plaudits and many high-profile festival slots.
Conjurer – Páthos (Nuclear Blast)
Release Date: 1 July 2022
Words: Paul Hutchings
Following tours with Insomnium pre-pandemic, as well as supports in the US to VoiVod, Rivers of Nihl and Revocation, as well as their own headline shows, the band regrouped and began to craft their next release, Páthos.
It’s evident from the bone-snapping introduction on It Dwells, which opens the album, that Conjurer have summoned up some of the biggest slab-dragging riffs known to humanity.
Over a 52-minute period, the band lurch from rabid Heavy Metal through to massive sludgy passages which simply explode the cranium. Described in the past as Monolithic Metal, one can see why that phrase was coined.
The music is intense, at times bruising and brutal, the angular chord sequences and changes in direction abstract and unpredictable.
Páthos isn’t an instant listen. The passages are harrowing, the emotional turmoil it produces relentless. Rot is as haunting a song as you’ll get, the gargantuan punishment the quartet deliver echoing the technical elements of Gojira, the rawness of early Mastodon and the savagery of Oathbreaker.
The styles are intense, shifting violently with occasional moments of respite and post-Metal introspection. All You Will Remember, for example, intertwines slow, colossally formed riffs with segments of gentle fragility, the combination of clean vocals and the more familiar deep-throated roars, unlikely bedfellows that work well together.
If you want an album that is cheerful and uplifting, this isn’t it. Instead, themes of sorrow and misery inhabit the unconventional world of Conjurer, albeit with a perverse and warped beauty that will captivate and stun audiences worldwide. There is defiance and misery, with the occasional burst of light and organic soundscapes which appear like gaps in the clouds. Drift deep into the expansiveness of In Your Wake, the combination of thunderous sections merging with delicate, peaceful passages. It’s hypnotic and compelling.
The sound Conjurer deliver is sonically incredible. Their transition from dark, traumatic doom to explosive Black Metal tremolo riffing in an instant sets them apart from most peers. It’s also why the band remain one of the UK’s brightest and most in-demand bands.
Although long-time drummer Jan Krause departed after the band’s Damnation Festival appearance in Leeds last November, his performance here leaves a fine legacy. Current Sylosis bassist Connor Marshall links in tightly whilst the twin guitar and vocal work of Dan Nightingale and Brady Deeprose are the very epicentre of this fine band.
Put simply, this is an album that will elevate Conjurer to the next level.
Switching from darkness to light, heavy to ethereal vibes in an instant, this is an album worthy of the hype. This is a band here to stay.