Monday, 28 September 2015

Conjurer - ‘Old World Ritual’ (Album Review)

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 06/06/2015
Label: Independent



Conjurer are reliably badass: rumbling riffs, raw production, rough and ready gruff vocals... it's all there. I liked this album from the very opening of ‘Never Enough’. Similarly, ‘Trudge Down’ and ‘Entheogen’ cover murky ground with some excellent grooves. It is not sludge like EHG, it is not doom like the aforementioned TGOS, but it does combine the best of the two parent genres to create a unique sound. Maybe if Crowbar covered Saint Vitus it would sound a little like Conjurer?

Old World Ritual’ CD//DD track listing:

1.Never Enough 05:43
2.Trudge Down 03:48
3.Entheogen 03:42
4.Black Throne 03:23
5.Singularity 04:13
6.Flesh To Ash 05:28
7.Witch's Hale 02:51
8.Time Stands Still 04:50
9.Marauders 05:43
10.Gold Mask 05:45

Conjurer is:

Dillon Enright
Dustin Mendel
John Rau
Gabe Whitcomb
Brian Wyrick

The Review:

All right! Indiana has produced some kick ass bands- The Gates of Slumber and Thorr Axe, to name but two. Now the state-with-a-lot-of-heavy-already brings us this! Conjurer are kind of sludge, kind of doom- maybe even a cross between the two genres?! One thing is for sure, it is not “occult rock” and thank fuck for that. I feared that they would be so before I pressed play (based on the name) but I was very pleasantly surprised. If I hear another band “channelling the spirit” of 1970's horror films and combining it with cynical retro production I may have to only listen to the ‘Slowly We Rot’ by Obituary on repeat for the rest of my life. It is the only thing to cleanse these boring, trendy abominations from my mind.

Fortunately, Conjurer are reliably badass: rumbling riffs, raw production, rough and ready gruff vocals... it's all there. I liked this album from the very opening of ‘Never Enough’. Similarly, ‘Trudge Down’ and ‘Entheogen’ cover murky ground with some excellent grooves. It is not sludge like EHG, it is not doom like the aforementioned TGOS, but it does combine the best of the two parent genres to create a unique sound. Maybe if Crowbar covered Saint Vitus it would sound a little like Conjurer?

‘Black Throne’ takes rudimentary chordal riffing and makes a fine song out of it- a rolling groove, strong vocals and a cool time change for the last 40 seconds or so. Magic. ‘Singularity’ is aptly titled, being as it has a single minded approach: make big riffs, make big noise and repeat. That is not a snipe at the album as a whole, though. There is a lot of variety here. The band makes a virtue of offering up some really different sounds and textures. Yes, there are even hooks to go with the tempo shifts and key changes. Some tracks, like ‘Flesh to Ash’, ride the slow groove, whilst others such as ‘Witch's Hale’ clip past at (for anything in the sludge genre) lightning speed.

The rest of the record is similarly consistent;Time Stands Still’ reminded me of the much missed Scissorfight- just a lot darker. ‘Marauders’ is pretty vicious stuff and again is pacey for any of the genres involved. ‘Gold Mask’ closes this excellent debut with some sinister sounding clean guitar and sinister lyrics. The vocals, should you want a description is perhaps on the early Mastodon side of things- shouty, but not without melody.

This is a fine record and one that offers a nice combination of genres and good variety throughout. Definitely try it out if you are a fan of any of the bands mentioned in this review. You won't be disappointed.

Old World Ritual’ is available here

FFO: Crowbar, Saint Vitus, Scissorfight

Band info: Facebook | Bandcamp

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