The British Metal scene has well and truly been spoilt for choice when it comes to exciting and hugely important releases in recent years. Whether it being in the case of killer new bands causing waves on their first full release such as Venom Prison or The King Is Blind or follow-ups that build massively on the previous potential such as Employed To Serve or Architects with All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us (Epitaph), British Metal has shown its greatest period of abundance for quite some time.
With the release of their debut full length in Mire (Holy Roar), Conjurer has done the unthinkable and have somehow managed to pull off both.
Whilst 2016’s EP release I (Holy Roar) earmarked the band for great things, I don’t think the world was fully prepared for the sheer growth and capacity that Mire would present. Whereas I was a more than solid Sludge offering with hints of wider influences, Mire is the sound of such styles spreading wings and soaring, revealing a wholly more captivating and vibrant beast.
Conjurer are clear students of Metal with such a larger palette being used without ever feeling forced nor incoherent, as well as adding a more dynamic range in their song structuring and pacing. Album opener ‘Choke’ begins, perhaps expectedly, with a slow, Doom-like crawl before it suddenly awakens into a furious barrage more akin to Converge tussling with Pig Destroyer, before once again dropping to a melancholic, clean closing passage.
Elsewhere ‘Thankless’ shows nods to the likes of early Architects and, again, isn’t afraid to drop the pace, even hitting a calming, near post-rock tone at one point. ‘Retch’ is a comparatively more impactful sucker punch at just under four minutes and immediately hits out the gate with intense fury; before album highlight ‘Of Flesh Weaker Than Ash’ shows a Cult Of Luna post-Metal influence as it flows through their characteristic brutality with hypnotic and suspenseful soundscapes.
Many bands try to pack so much range into their sound but very few can pull it off in a way that makes something unique to themselves, even less so manage to pull it off so strongly on their debut album. That Conjurer has managed not only do so, but also manage to remember the art of excellent songcraft and it’s clear that they are a special force with the ability to grow even further.
Mire, for me, is the most exciting debut release since Astronoid’s Air (Blood Music) in the sense that it is excellent and yet signals even better things to come. Mire will come to be seen as an important moment in British Extreme Metal.