Thursday, 22 August 2019

REVIEW: Pijn & Conjurer, "Curse These Metal Hands"

By: Eeli Helin

Album Type: Full-length
Date Released: 16/08/19
Label: Holy Roar Records

”Curse These Metal Hands” CD//DD//LP tracklist:

1. High Spirits
2  The Pall
3. Endeavour
4. Sunday

The Review:

Pijn and Conjurer are both UK based, roughly categorizable as sludgy post-metal/hardcore bands. Both are on Holy Roar Records' roster and released impeccably strong albums last year, also making a collaboration appearance in ArcTanGent, one of the most momentous and meaningful festivals focusing on bands beyond the mainstream spectrum. The preparation and execution of said performance also planted the seed for a joint studio album titled "Curse These Metal Hands", released on August 16th, and with a release like this, the bands succeed to set a potent and firm example of how collaboration albums should sound. 

Like most of joint productions, this also looked fine on paper. After all, Conjurer's "Mire" and Pijn's "Loss" were amongst the most played albums in my household, as they were in so many others too. I've stated this somewhere else too, but when it comes to collaboration albums, they tend to be a hit or miss, with absolutely nothing in between. But with "Curse These Metal Hands", there wasn't a single reason to get cautious or worried about it. And there still isn't.

The pre-released track "High Spirits" opens up the album, and as the name suggests, it'll elevate your spirit right from the beginning. Slowly growing with clean guitars, tambourines and gentle drum hits, the song evolves in an uplifting manner, keeping a surprisingly positive vibe going throughout. After introducing strong dual vocals on top of a ridiculously heavy verse, the atmosphere tightens but the tone remains warm and wholehearted. 

Keeping in mind both bands' previous albums, this one differs from them greatly, which proves to make "Curse These Metal Hands" a justified, multiplex entirety with it's own narrative. The second song "The Pall" is mainly pulled together from similar realms, but instead shifts the gear into a bleaker direction. The second track also deploys more compositional dynamics, and there's parts where you can identify both bands' own sounds, but everything blends together seamlessly. I personally also really enjoy the writing on this one; albeit the track is almost nine minutes long, there's a ton of different riffs and sections, different tones and colours. It's so easy to build longer tracks over simpler and monotonous riffs that start to feel numbing really soon, and it's really refreshing that this album is bereft of the said approach.

The third track "Endeavour" is a mountain-movingly heavy, crushing two minute intermission. Vicious guitarwork and a constant triplet rhythm make the track stand on it's own, given it's still a smaller piece amidst the three gigantic tracks. What makes it shine through, is that while being in a minor position, "Endeavour" is not a futile transition song. This is often the case when an album is arranged like this, but that is yet another pitfall that the bands avoid very smoothly. "Sunday" closes the album with same emotion that the album started with. It's a consistent and uplifting epic, rejoicing in almost happy melodies, shifting through strong and soft passages until calling it a day for good. Structurally it's close to the other longer tracks, including a sense of closure and finality, utilizing tension in a very animate manner instead of being your run-of-the-mill "funeral procession"-like closing track.

Simply put, "Curse These Metal Hands" is an album that makes you feel good. It manages to create an almost transcendentally comforting and positive atmosphere without getting tacky at any point. That's also something a lot of people (me included) didn't expect from bands whose output tends to be from the more dismal and joyless end of the spectrum. "Curse These Metal Hands" doesn't redefine any genres or brave a new one, but it damn well exceeds in what it is set out to be; a perfect amalgamation of two different bands coming together.

"Curse These Metal Hands" is available HERE

Band info: Pijn || Conjurer