Overall Score: 9/10 Riffs: 9/10 Vocals: 9/10 Diversity: 8/10 Pros: A vast display of brilliant and different influences made into their own crushing sound.| Everything you could want from a debut album Cons: Nothing negative, but you know the band will probably top this on their second record, which is a frightening and exciting prospect.
Those who keep their fingers on the pulse of the UK’s underground metal scene would assume it’s going into cardiac arrest with the rate it’s pumping out brilliant records. After hearing Conjurer‘s 2016 debut EP listeners knew that the first full-length, Mire would be yet another palpitation for the British scene.
It’s not surprising that another astonishing UK act’s debut is out on Holy Roar, but what is surprising is how complete Mire is for a first album. Within only one EP Conjurer have honed in on their sound and effortlessly let arrows fly for a perfect bullseye. Make no bones about it, this is one of the best debut albums of the last decade. Opener ‘Choke’ introduces the quartet with their with their slow stomping riffs whilst Dan Nightingale’s and Brady Deeprose’s gut-wrenching vocals almost curl around their guitar work to form one monstrous sound. After about two minutes the band then launches into their speedier and sludge-ier breed of riffage showcasing that they are indeed a band that can do both.
There is an insane vocal range on both Nightingale and Deeprose (both pulling double duty but pulling no punches on guitar and vocals). From screeching highs to visceral lows within syllables of each other. In ‘Thankless’, even some post-hardcore-esque clean vocals emerge for a moment. This combined with the sludge meets black metal guitar work makes them go from sounding like Neurosis one minute to sounding like Shining within the next. Their eclectic range of influences goes full black metal near the end of ‘Choke’, and at times and the guitars even throw in harmonics and math-y discord giving nods to the techier bands in their influence pool. The tight rhythm section keeps Conjurer on course during this exploration of extreme progressive metal. Connor Marshal’s drums go from blistering blasts to the lightest percussion at a moments notice and even bring out a funeral snare roll during the grieving moment of Thankless. He proves that he can work around the kit during the heavy parts, but it’s his ideas in the softer parts that shine.
Fitting in with their label mates on Holy Roar (Employed To Serve, Helpless, and many more), Mire is a record that’s as brutal as it is bleak. It’s a barrage of riffs with an absolute assault of retching vocals on the side. To collect all the different styles amalgamated within Mire would turn a review into a list of all the best bands within aggressive music within the past 20 years. It’s a record that proves Conjurer have impeccable influences and have merged all of these into one hulking beast that is now joins an ever-growing list of a new British metal revolution.
Mire is out March 9th on Holy Roar Records.