Tag Archives: conjurer

Year End: The 10 Best EPs of 2016

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10) Cold Summer – Fight to Survive

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“Regardless, Cold Summer have finally hit their groove on Fight to Survive. This is an extremely bold and fearless record that sees all the pieces of the Cold Summer jigsaw puzzle fit together comfortably. If fist-pumping, anthemic post hardcore music is what you crave in life, then Fight to Survive is an EP you can rely on.”

Click here to read the full review.

9) Conjurer – I

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Despite making a name for themselves in the UK underground’s live circuit for what feels like ages, Conjurer finally released their debut EP this year and it’s fantastically difficult to categorise which is always a fun job as a music critic. This EP is a seriously challenging slab of metal that draws on so many different elements from genres as wide and diverse as death metal, classic rock, black metal and doom metal. Conjurer manage to sound like Mastodon, Between the Buried and Me and Deicide running at each other full pelt across a room with the resulting impact birthing whatever Conjurer are.

8) Wren – Host

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Wren continue to impress us with their huge, atmospheric take on doom metal. Host may be only 4 tracks long, but there’s an awful lot of music to indulge in. This is a creepy and forlorn take on doom that intersperses the music with elements of post rock to create a truly desperate and bleak tone that permeates the entire record. If you’ve been looking for a doom release that could probably make you emotionally well up, then Wren will certainly deliver that. Host is a really unique record from a band who are doing something very interesting with this genre.

7) Terrible Love – Change Nothing

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“Terrible Love’s Change Nothing is an incredible debut from a band that comes with a lot of expectation and they absolutely deliver. This is a remarkably accomplished start to a band’s career that I hope lasts for a very long time.”

Click here to read the full review.

6) Nembutal – Pay to Die

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When bands put out releases like this I always get tempted to just write, “FUCK” and leave it at that. Nembutal’s follow-up to their 2014 demo is about as no-nonsense as hardcore punk records come. The goal of every song on Pay to Die is to play as loud and fast as possible and it just so happens that Nembutal are bloody excellent at doing both. Nembutal’s music has about as much depth as a roadside puddle, but if you enjoy your hardcore punk being played with as much energy as the human body can muster then you absolutely have to listen to Pay to Die.

5) Allfather – Bless the Earth With Fire

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“Allfather have evolved significantly since their debut EP and with Bless the Earth with Fire we see the band writing more diverse and interesting songs that complement the shift towards sludge metal. It also rocks like a mother fucker.”

Click here to read the full review.

4) So-Crates – v1

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“Overall, v1 is an accomplished and intense debut from an extremely exciting new band. If you’re a fan of post hardcore and math rock then you’ll find a lot to love here and despite some niggles regarding the production, the song-writing really does shine bright and offer a record that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

Click here to read the full review.

3) Underdark – Mourning Cloak

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Nottingham’s Underdark exploded out the gates with a black metal release that’s scarily accomplished for a first drop. Mourning Cloak is a wonderfully textured and beautifully structured EP that betrays how heavy it is. The ebb and flow of every song on this record is so gloriously natural and well placed that there’s a dream-like quality to the music that’s at juxtaposition with all the screaming and double-bass drumming on offer. Underdark are a very special band that instantly have my attention and have me begging for more.

2) Watchcries – Watchcries

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Another EP that took me by complete surprise, Watchcries’ debut self-titled EP is never short on ideas. This 3 track offering of metallic hardcore fuses itself with elements of death and black metal and instantly grabs you by the collar and gets right in your face. Watchcries have no interest in nuance; this is a band who are itching to make the most visceral and aggressive metal they can and if this debut is anything to go by then their next record might actually kill you.

1) Razoreater – Vacuum of Nihil

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“Vacuum of Nihil is a loud, noisy, racket of a metal EP and it contains Razoreater’s finest work to date. This band has only managed to get more ferocious with every record and still manage to find new ways to assault your ears. Vacuum of Nihil might have been a long time coming but when Razoreater deliver a record as disgustingly vicious as this it makes you realise that it might have all been worth it. This is an essential UK metal release.”

Click here to read the full review.


Live Review: Crowhurst feat. Caïna, Conjurer and Warren Schoenbright at The Unicorn, Camden 19/9/2015

Power electronics (or noise music) is a daunting and very strange genre of music to get involved in. Pushing heaviness to its absolute extreme, it favours atmosphere and texture over melody. A lot of people are very quick to dismiss it because without melody, is it really music? As tonight’s evening’s entertainment manages to prove, noise music needs a certain level of context to enjoy and if you’ve not been to see live noise show then it’s something we’d highly recommend.

Warren Schoenbright
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The evening’s proceedings begin with Warren Schoenbright, a two piece noise act that instantly set the tone. Drowning the room in darkness except for a single, dangling lightbulb from Daniel McClennan’s drum-kit, Warren Schoenbright created a beautifully minimalist atmosphere through their use of delicate electronics that were punctuated with bursts of fury. The heavier moments of the band’s music were delivered by a blistering performance from McClennan and an abrasive explosion of sharp, white noise from Matthew Pastkewicz. It was masterfully structured as well. The band’s performance played out as a single piece of music with many movements and the addition of McClennan’s drumming abilities as opposed to simply having Pastkewicz use synthetic drums added an engaging performance element to the band’s music. This was an eerie yet vicious performance that cleverly managed to build cautious tension before letting loose. This was a really fantastic start.

Conjurer
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Sadly what followed was an odd booking that didn’t sit well with the rest of the evening’s acts. Conjurer are a death metal band that frequently drop into moments of down-tempo doom and the onslaught of guitar-derived heaviness killed the atmosphere that Warren Schoenbright had worked so well to create. Conjurer are by no means a bad band and they are clearly a very talented group of musicians, it’s just they needed to be on the bill of a death or black metal show to really work. Conjurer felt like a fish out of water and while there was plenty to enjoy thanks to their carefully structured and somewhat bleak sound, they simply killed the atmospherics that had previously bathed the venue in such a carefully crafted way.

Caïna
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Luckily when Caïna took to the stage, we were back in familiar territory. If you’re not familiar with Caïna as a two-piece then you might be confused as to why the black metal act were making harsh noise via a laptop and microphone. When the band tour as just Andy Curtis-Brignell and Laurence Taylor, they become a nightmarish noise act that drag their audience into the hell they create. Taylor stalks the audience with a hugely engaging yet exhausting performance that sees the man spasm and convulse around the room while screaming and howling into people’s faces. It’s a stark, vicious and haunting performance that perfectly complimented the dense wall of electronic noise and beats that were being generated by Curtis-Brignell. When you’re standing in a room being utterly drowned in atmosphere like this, noise music just makes sense. This was easily some of the best performance art we’ve witnessed.

Crowhurst
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Finally it was time for Crowhurst to take the stage. The one-man noise act from Los Angeles easily had the most oppressive sound of the evening. Crowhurst creates a hugely dense wall of sound that rattles its way into your very core. Crowhurst’s music is something you can genuinely feel and it’s this bizarre feedback-loop that keeps you connected to the music. Sadly Crowhurst suffers from not having a stronger performance element as he cannot leave his laptop to engage with his audience in the same way Caïna can. It’s also a shame that Crowhurst’s set is considerably shorter than the others as it would have been nice to spend more time in the crushing atmosphere he was creating.

Despite a booking that didn’t work in the context of the other acts performing tonight, Warren Schoenbright, Caïna and Crowhurst all delivered performances that deserve to be experienced. If you’re still on the fence about power electronics then make sure you experience it live because the dense, haunting atmosphere it creates is like nothing else in extreme music.