The only constant in life is change. This is evidenced by nature, society, and art. One can easily succumb to the temptation to fight this natural ebb and flow but to one’s own peril. Rather, one should be fluid, and able to propel thoughts and ideas with the momentum provided by the ever-changing landscape. Music is no different as it is a mirror of the real world and as time goes by, more and more ingredients are packed into the recipes of genres held dear. Conjurer is a musical example f a new amalgamation of influences and ideas, but the question is: do they work?
It is not surprising Conjurer hail from the UK. Their chokingly heavy sound yields a reflection of their gloomy surroundings. Formed in 2014, the band has previously released one full-length, Mire in 2018. Now, signed to Nuclear Blast, the band has released Páthos, an album with eight tracks of cacophony.
From the beginning notes of “It Dwells,” it is possible to hear the abiding influence of Isis is Conjurer’s sound. The marriage of Post Metal with elements of Doom, Black Metal, and Hardcore appears throughout the album. For this first track and the following, “Rot,” this new glimpse of the times could be easily misleading. This is quite simply because these are not two of the strongest tracks on the album.
The first real highlight of the album is the third track, “As You Will Remember”. Like virgin rays of sun peering through a swath of clouds, clean vocals make their first appearance. In a much-needed respite from brutality, Conjurer exhibits their penchant for nourishing melody. The female narrated vocals toward the end coupled with the ensuing musical accompaniment gives a distinct Anathema vibe – pensive, dreamy, and darkly hopeful. The final blasting that finishes the song echoes similar passages from more modern Black Metal bands.
Combining Post Metal with Black Metal and other musical elements presents an interesting concept. One must question, though, whether this benefits the band. Is this their best look?
The fourth track, “Basilisk,” sees a return to the bludgeoning ferocity of earlier moments. Unlike those burgeoning instances, though, this presents a more palatable groove. The following song, “Those Years, Condemned,” returns to the monotony of earlier tracks. While the middle section opens up with a clean interlude, it is impossible to escape the death sentence that repetition holds for this song.
Páthos is an album comprised of sparse moments of greatness. The majority of the music, while recorded and produced pristinely, comes across as random, plodding, and directionless. One cannot escape the thought of “where is this going?” There is simply no unifying concept tying the myriad ideas together and what results is an album that meanders without a clear goal. Brief moments of encouraging inspiration occur, but largely, this is a disjointed effort eschewing the normal quality control present in other Nuclear Blast releases.