Even with all of the build-up to Mire’s release in 2018, few would have thought that Conjurer’s full debut would be this good. Granted, their 2016 EP I was a definite sign of what this young four-piece were capable of and they had already been part of the live scene for a few years, but Mire shows impressive progression, pushes boundaries, and is a densely layered, highly accomplished debut.
The pained, guttural screaming and immense riffing of guitarist/vocalist duo Dan Nightingale and Brady Deeprose kick in instantly during album opener ‘Choke’. This pairing certainly provides this intense album’s foundation and emotional impact, but they’re supplemented by a faultless rhythm section that features Jan Krause’s expansive, focused drumming and Conor Marshall’s roiling bass.
Doing away with genre limitations on Mire, Conjurer smash together hardcore, doom, death, sludge, prog, black and post-metal in a way that is vicious, natural-sounding and free-flowing, and often manage all this within a single song. This album is almost cripplingly heavy, both musically and thematically, and through progressive song structures, Conjurer effortlessly switch from the speed of hardcore and the swagger of blastbeat-driven death metal to slowly toiling in a slough of tenebrous doom-laden riffs. Ruthlessly transferred to a live setting, where the power and density of Mire truly stand out, Conjurer have been selling out venues and steamrolling festival stages through the likes of ‘Retch’, ‘Hadal’ and ‘Choke’ with a frightening mercilessness.
It’s not all just intense heaviness for the sake of it, however, and by showing some restraint and understanding of melody Conjurer manage to keep Mire interesting after multiple listens. Clever use of melancholic refrains like the catchy chorus on ‘Thankless’ and soft, subtle sections within songs such as ‘Hollow’ further heighten the impact of this visceral and eye-wateringly gargantuan album.
There’s no doubt that Mire will be viewed as one of this past decade’s best debut albums as well as a springboard for a burgeoning career – in the nearly two years since its release Conjurer have made bigger and bigger waves, have extended their reach beyond the UK and are sure to represent the vanguard of the British metal scene in the coming decade.