Review Summary: The mother of all blueprints....
Conjurer is arguably amongst the most exciting and most hyped bands in the UK metal scene today, receiving raving reviews from big players in the alternative music media. While this praise is fully warranted, 2016’s EP “I” has been overshadowed and undeservedly left behind.
Opener “Behold the Swine” achieves plenty in its 6-minute run-time. Punishingly heavy riffs lurch underneath powerful growls and anguished screams that come from the depths of hell. The guitar interplay between Dan Nightingale and Brady Deeprose exhibited here is fantastic – filthy sludge riffs, intricate thrash attacks and beautiful clean atmospheric guitar work all play off each other to create a truly monstrous track. As the journey through the EP continues, it becomes apparent just how diverse a palate Conjurer has at this stage of infancy. Post metal and black metal are major influences not to mention the deep grooves which help add maintain rhythmic interest throughout the two tracks which make up the centre of the EP.
Aside from the combination of barbaric brutality and atmospheric beauty, Conjurer’s other trademark has always been one of overhanging misery and hopelessness. The vile despair projected by the music is perfectly emulated by song titles such as “A Chasm Forged in Dread and Disarray”. The most wretched point on the album is the crushing doom-fest that is the closer “Frail”. “I” also impresses structurally, squeezing touches from a plethora of metal sub-genres into something that feels less a collection of songs but more a single cohesive 23-minute track, leaving the listener’s soul obliterated to dust by the end.
The early EPs of artists are sadly often forgotten by all but the hardcore fanbase and despite Conjurer having evidently developed their songwriting chops significantly with the release of 2018’s “Mire” and further still with 2022s “Páthos”, “I” staunchly stands proud as the solid foundations for what has rapidly elevated to become a powerhouse of progressive, blackened, post-sludge. A must check for those who have enjoyed the subsequent albums.