Tuesday, 16 January 2018

kolektiv - S/T (Album Review)

Release date: June 09th 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

kolektiv – Tracklisting

1.nezhyl 03:39
2.perdition 04:03
3.breeder 03:28
4.champion 03:42
5.hurt 02:41
6.potemkin 03:42
7.elevator 04:11


kolektiv is a Post-Hardcore/Post-Punk/Metal band from Belgium who have quite a post-metallic sound to their music. Influenced by bands such as Deftones, At-The Drive In, Thrice and TOOL to some respect. Their new album is a heavy and emotional mix of post-the-fuck whatever kind of sounds.

It has quite a progressive feel with the opening song – nezhyl – having a more reflective post-rock delivery. The vocals are clean and melodic and that surprised me as I was expecting the harsher style of growls.

Speaking to the band recently, they told me there are a lot of hidden Easter Eggs and clever references hidden within this album. I was surprised with the amount of thought that has gone into this album. It may sound very simple at times but the band have put a lot of effort and thought with both the music and lyrics. Maybe that TOOL influence steadily coming into play. The song HURT that appears on the album is very complex as the post-hardcore/post-metallic riffs have more meaning when you start to fully understand the lyrics.

The song Potemkin has a link to Sigmund Freud and specifically to one of his patients. Well that's what the band told me. If you're not bothered about the hidden messages held within the album then just listen to the great songs held on the album. It's not the best produced album you'll ever hear but kolektiv recorded this album in true DIY style. So what you hear is what you get.

The album is mostly melodic with a few moments of pure aggression but it's expertly played throughout. This album can definitely be considered “THINKING MAN'S METAL.”

Check this out as kolektiv are definitely worth your time.

Words by Steve Howe


Hound The Wolves - Camera Obscura (Album Review)

Release date: February 14th 2018. Label: Monochord Records. Format: CD/DD

Camera Obscura – Tracklisting

1.If Lost In Mind
3.Omnia In Numeris Sita Sunt
4.Everything Lies Veiled In Numbers


Tim Burke – lap steel, drones, soundscapes
Juan Carlos Caceres - Guitar, vocals, words
Cory DeCaire - Bass
Ryan McPhaill - Drums
Nate Wright – Moog, aux percussion


Hound The Wolves debut album Camera Obscura is a deeply fascinating and emotional album that draws on the heavier sounds of Drone, Doom, Psych and Stoner Rock.

Opening track - Lost In Mind - is a slowly played song with elements of Drone and Post Rock creating an almost ambient based atmosphere. The music and mood of the song is quite solitary with the haunting vocals of Juan Carlos opting for a more poetic style of delivery. The deliberate slow paced delivery of the music allows the listener to fully immerse themselves with the almost cold and distant environment.

Second song - Masquerade - opens the world of Hound The Wolves to a heavier style of Psychedelic Doom/Stoner Rock with the sound becoming more of a post-metallic vibe. The drone based sounds become almost industrial with the vocals having a more machine like delivery. I can hear a direct NIN influence with the heavy distorted industrial beats though the band adds a heavier pounding Sludge/Stoner metal sound. The song becomes decidedly weird and trippy when Americana inspired Psychedelic Drone noises appear and the song becomes calmer and perhaps more mood driven as a result. The band has a lot of time to fill as this song lasts thirteen minutes or so. The lyrics have a shamanic feel to them and perhaps inspired by Drone/Doom Specialists EARTH.

Third track - Omnia In Numeris Sina Sunt - is another Psychedelic Drone offering with long drawn out sounds and hypnotic vocals singing the title of the song over and over. In theory this should be a recipe for disaster but Hound The Wolves make this a majestic and hypnotic offering with many layers of different areas of music holding everything together.

The final song - Everything Lies Veiled In Numbers - carries on the Psychedelic/Americana sounds but with more emphasis on the hazy dark desert sounds with an eerie slide guitar being played in the background. The song has a constant slowly played guitar that never lets up. The vocals drift in and out yet again with the shamanic style chants. The lyrics are quite doomy and progressive in parts but it's the music that makes the lasting impression.

Camera Obscura is one of the most trippiest Psychedelic Drone/Stoner Metal albums I've heard in a long time. The production is simply exquisite. You can feel the different layers of music taking over your soul for an out of body experience.

If you're a fan of EARTH or Across Tundras then Hound The Wolves is a band you cannot ignore. My final thoughts on Camera Obscura are that this album may take multiple listens to understand fully what's going on. however that doesn't stop this album being a powerful and simply unmissable album.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to the band for the promo. Camera Obscura will be available to buy on CD/DD from February 14th 2018.


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APF RECORDS SHOWCASE ALL-DAYER Manchester, UK 3rd February 2018

APF Records is hosting a special one-off gig at The Bread Shed in Manchester UK on 3rd February, featuring all 14 of its current active signed bands playing across two stages.

Founded by Andrew Field in March 2017 APF Records has released albums, EPs and singles by Under, Diesel King, Blind Haze, Mastiff, The Wizards Of Delight, Tronald, The Hyena Kill, RedEye Revival, Ba’al and BongCauldron during its first 12 months.

The label already has releases lined up for 2018 by Desert Storm (new album “Sentinels” out 16th March), Pist, Nomad, Barbarian Hermit and Battalionsas well as further releases from the bands mentioned above.

Due to the logistical challenges of getting all 14 bands in one place at once this is likely to be the only time the entire APF Records roster will play in one place on one day. Thus advance tickets have been moving fast and the event (at the 400-capacity venue) is predicted to be a sell-out.

Doors open at 1.30pm with the first band performing at 2pm. The event will finish 10 hours later when Desert Storm headline the main stage.

“With Ba’al having been reviewed in Kerrang!, Terrorizer and Metal Hammer, Pist having played Bloodstock Open Air Festival and been booked for this year’s Desertfest London, BongCauldron being featured in Decibel magazine, and other such high profile appearances there is a lot of interest in my label at the present” says Andrew Field of APF Records. “If the goodwill around us and the increasing popularity of our bands continues apace I suspect any future gathering of all our artists will likely be in a much bigger venue”.

Appearing at the APF Records Showcase:

Barbarian Hermit
Desert Storm
Diesel King
RedEye Revival
The Hyena Kill
The Wizards Of Delight

APF Records and Stonebaked Promotions presents: The APF Records Showcase All-Dayer
Venue: The Bread Shed, Manchester UK
Date: 3rd February 2018
Doors Open: 1.30pm
Tickets: £10 adv / £15 otd

Arcadian Child - New Video For Irresistible


Panayiotis Georgio
Stathis Hadjicharalambous
Andreas Kerveros
Christos Dimou

The Lowdown

Psychedelic Greek Retro Rockers - Arcadian Child - have a new video out for Irresistible from their acclaimed new album Afterglow, which I reviewed here back in November 2017.

Words by Steve Howe


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Saturday, 13 January 2018

Redscale - Set In Stone (Album Review)

Release date: December 01st 2017. Label: Self Released. Format: CD/DD

Set In Stone – Tracklisting

1.The Ascent 01:49
2.Olympus 04:25
3.False Light 04:11
4.Atlas 04:42
5.The Collapse 04:07
6.Hypnos 03:08
7.Prometheus 04:55
8.The Descent 01:45
9.Beast from Below 03:19


Set In Stone is the debut album from German Hard Rock/Stoner Rockers Redscale and it's a heavy and accomplished record from the band. The album has elements of Hard Rock, Classic Rock and Stoner Rock all delivered with a turbo charged energy. The vocals have a classic heavy metal feel as the vocals immerse themselves superbly well with the heavy stoner rock grooves.

The songs on the album follow a simple template of HEAVY RIFFS, LOUD VOCALS and CATCHY CHORUSES. Yeah it's a boring formula but it works so surprisingly well for Redscale as songs such as Olympus, False Light, The Collapse and Hypnos have a vintage Stoner Rock quality with elements of Psychedelia appearing here and there. The lyrics maybe inspired by the 80s Heavy Metal scene but at least Redscale are keeping the whole music within the Stoner Rock environment.

Set In Stone may not have the most original of sounds but what the album does have is PASSION and fantastic musicians who prove they can play with many fine riffs with enough power to satisfy even the most jaded of Hard Rock/Stoner Rock fan.

If you're in the mood for an album with a deep love for all things 1980s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal but with a modern Stoner Rock twist then look no further as Redscale are the band for you. Set In Stone is a superbly entertaining album and proves that Redscale have a bright future ahead of them.

Excellent and Highly Recommended.

Words by Steve Howe


Geomancer - Khatt Al-Raml (Album Review)

Release date: January 15th 2018. Label: Inverted Grim Mill Recordings. Format: CD/DD

Khatt Al-Raml – Tracklisting



Guitar / Vocals - Richard,
Bass - Calum,
Drums - Ruben


I first became aware of Geomancer a couple years ago when they supported OHHMS and Conjurer on their joint UK Tour back in August 2016. The guys impressed me a great deal and I was curious to hear more from the band. Well that day has come as Geomancer will be releasing their debut album - Khatt Al-Raml.

Their music is an interesting sound with elements of Doom, Sludge, Post-Metal, Stoner Metal and Blackened Rock/Metal that all combine to create a Post-Doom style of music. The band uses a drone style template to hold everything together.

Opening track - Geomancer - is a slow-paced and bleakly distorted vision with the band focusing on heaviness more than melody. The overall sound has a cold feel with Geomancer playing more doom and gloom riffs with a blackened sludge groove for added measure. The growl based vocals are menacing but at least you can understand them. The second half of the song moves into Psychedelic and Post Rock territory with the band closing the song off with fast-paced Stoner Metal vibes that show you there is a lot more to Geomancer's music.

Second track - Grief is another lengthy opus with the band creating YOB/Electric Wizard levels of heaviness. The mood is bleak and sometimes sombre. Though that doesn't allow Geomancer to become complacent. Far from it. Geomancer build up a steady rhythm of Doom and Sludge Metal theatrics that has a more post-metallic feel compared to the other songs on the album. The vocals become more threatening and perhaps less easier to understand. This is where Geomancer start to experiment with their sound even more. As this song and the whole flow of the album expertly moves from extreme metal to the less harsh ways of Psychedelic Stoner Metal.

Third track - Visions - is a drone/sludge rock song with different swirling sounds opening the song. It has a BONG style influence as the band play an almost never-ending simple drone style riff. The song has quite a Shamanic feel with the different sound effects adding a layer of complex Middle Eastern melodies. Visions shows another side to Geomancer and it's a superbly played song. However it doesn't offer any great insights into the album and could be classed as filler compared to the other songs. Within time my opinion on this song will probably change.

Fourth track - Greed - returns to the furious psychedelic Doom/Sludge Metal onslaught with the band playing perhaps some of the heaviest moments on the album. It's a weirdly addictive sound allowing Geomancer more creative freedom with the heavy distorted/drone experimental noises becoming the main focus. The psychedelic sludgy stoner parts make a welcome appearance as YOB/CONAN style rhythms interact well with the vocals and the brilliant drumming of Ruben.

The final track - Sacrifice - is fifteen minutes plus of epic doom/sludge/stoner/post-whatever spaced out madness. It's quite trippy and spaced-out compared to the other songs but the familiar and harsh Sludge/Doom Metal atmospheric sounds remain as Geomancer finish off with the best song on the album. The vocals from Richard add a menacing feel and heavier substance to the song.

The production on Khatt Al-Raml is highly effective as the sound comes at you from all directions. The music is loud and violently crisp. Some people may find fault with the vocals and the bands willingness to experiment with their music. Those could be valid points when you first listen to the album. After a few listens this album had me under its hypnotic dark spell. If you want a brutally heavy sonic experience that dares to be that little bit different. Well Khatt Al-Raml is the album for you.

Geomancer may have opened the door to a lasting and rewarding career within the realm of Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal. A stunning debut album. No question.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Geomancer and Inverted Grim Mill for for the promo. Khatt Al-Raml will be released on DD via Inverted Grim Mill Recordings from January 15th 2018. CDs will be released at a later date. 


Marijannah - Till Marijannah (Album Review)

Release date: March 15th 2018. Label: Pink Tank Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Till Marijannah – Tracklisting

1. 1974
2. Bride Of Mine
3. Snakecharmer
4. All Hallows Eve




Marijannah are a fairly new band from Singapore but consists of seasoned veterans from Wormrot and The Caulfield Cult. So there's plenty of experiences on hand which shows so well in the four tracks on 'Till Marijannah'. What's on offer is super-fuzzed out heavy psych/stoner rock with enough sharp riffs to take down Mount Everest, and played in a way you've never heard before. It’s perhaps nothing new per se, but what makes this album stand out and sound different, in better words, is the approach to the music and the sheer talent on hand.

There are “only” 4 tracks on this debut, which clocks in at just over 29 minutes. Some might complain about a shortage of songs but I say the opposite. The way ‘Till Marijannah’ pans out over this time and track span works fantastically well. Opener ‘1974’ is a steamrolling riff-fest that grinds you down to dust while simultaneously catapulting you out into a claustrophobic, nightmarish state of being. Marijannah keeps pummeling you until no resistance is left and all you can do is give in and let this sonic juggernaut carry you away. ‘Bride Of Mine’ slows down the pace somewhat – not much - yet the band is still relentless and punishing. While one guitar unleashes riff after hard-driving riff, the other play soaring, trippy leads on top of it while the bass guitar and drums keeps it all together. Spaced out and brutal at the same time, can’t get much better than that.

‘Snakecharmer’ picks it up slightly sending out High On Fire/Sleep et al vibes. Hypnotic, mesmerizing and pulverizing, there’s a lurking evil in the shadows waiting to pounce once the time is right. The soloing is blinding and free-flowing offering some respite before the clutches of darkness gets its grasp on you. Closer ‘All Hallows Eve’ is, just like the other songs, punishing in it’s mid-tempo pace. But it is more atmospheric in the sense that the band has added choir-like background vocals in many parts. This elevates the song to something else especially since Marijannah has opted for clean, dreamy and hypnotic vocals throughout, instead of harsher vocals. A great ending to a great debut!

What sets this Singaporean band apart is, like I stated earlier in their approach and know-how within the ranks. But other factors are how deftly they blend riffs, vocal-style, tempos and feelings in a way I haven’t come across within this musical sphere before. Don’t know how they conjured this and I don’t care because Marijannah has created a beast of a debut!

Words by Håkan Nyman

Thanks to Pink Tank Records for the promo. Till Marijannah will be released on CD/DD/Vinyl via Pink Tank Records from March 15th 2018.


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Corrosion of Conformity - No Cross No Crown (Album Review)

Release date: 12th January 2018. Label: Nuclear Blast Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

No Cross No Crown - Tracklisting

1. Novus Deus
2. The Luddite
3. Cast the First Stone
4. No Cross
5. Wolf Named Crow
6. Little Man
7. Matre's Diem
8. Forgive Me
9. Nothing Left to Say
10. Sacred Isolation
11. Old Disaster
12. E.L.M.
13. No Cross No Crown
14. A Quest to Believe (A Call to the Void)
15. Son and Daughter


Woody Weatherman
Mike Dean
Reed Mullin
Pepper Keenan


Greetings All,

When I was offered the chance to review the new Corrosion of Conformity album, I jumped faster than a bullfrog with his ass on fire. CoC has been one of my favorite bands for many years now. For those that may not know, No Cross No Crown marks the return of Pepper Keenan to the fold, after a couple of albums as a trio. The band as a trio saw a return to the earlier, Animosity-era punk metal sound. Now as a four piece the band returns to a heavy southern style stoner sludge a bit more reminiscent of Blind/Deliverance. Although I love both styles, this is a very welcome return. CoC sounds amazing on this record. They are as a tight and rocking as humanly possible. It sounds as though they never were apart and hit the ground running on all cylinders.

The album spans an impressive 15 tracks, with a couple of those being brief instrumental interludes. There seems to be a repetitive theme throughout No Cross No Crown of symbolism, religion, and power which may very well be a reflection on the current political climate here in the US. The album is an absolute ripper from beginning to end. The proverbial all killer no filler with some absolutely amazing songs.

To the songs, the album kicks off with a brief fuzzy intro entitled Novus Deus before kicking your proverbial teeth in with the absolutely killer riffage of The Luddite. Cast the First Stone is the same style of ripper. The way CoC brings the heavy and melodic can be breathtaking. They truly are timeless, as some of these songs span 2 to 3 decades of musical styles in one song.

No Cross is another brief interlude that features acoustic guitar over some heavy bass drone. Wolf Named Crow is a southern style, groove heavy rocker that reminded me quite a bit of Pepper’s other band Down. It is a killer tune. Little Man rages next. There is a 70’s classic rock vibe to this song, but I also was reminded of last years amazing Obsessed record. The two bands have a similar storyline with reuniting and putting out killer albums. Matre’s Diem follows with a beautiful acoustic interlude.

Forgive Me comes at you next at a 100mph. This one features an absolutely killer hook. Bless you or Screw you if this song isn’t stuck in your head for weeks after listening. Nothing Left to Say brings in a sound that reminds me of early 90’s grunge and metal bands such as Alice in Chains with the quiet/loud dynamic, but I also got a bit of Pantera doing Planet Caravan.

Another masterfully delivered song. Sacred Isolation is another interlude that has electric guitar solos over what sounds like some distorted piano/synth sounds. Old Disaster and ELM bring more classic CoC, heavy killer riffs, wicked solos and amazing song writing and delivery.

The albums title track, No Cross No Crown is an interesting departure. An intriguing spoken word song that plays like a heavy, blackened synth driven dirge. A Quest to Believe (A Call to the Void) is another smoking heavy track with a very epic sound and a bit of call and response, dual vocals.

The record closes with the astounding Son & Daughter. It comes with a stomping pace and some killer metal riffage. Again with a nod to the 70’s arena rock, but also a bit of Ozzy solo or Black Label Society in the mix. It is the perfect closer to this absolutely stunning record.

It is a joy and a privilege to watch master craftsmen at work. Corrosion of Conformity are masters of their craft. It is only a couple of weeks in to 2018 and we already have one of the best albums of the year. If you are a long-time fan or new to CoC, do yourself a huge favor and check this album out. (along with their other releases over the last 30 years)

No Cross No Crown is a masterpiece. Period.

- Todd S

Instagram @alltheghoststhathauntyou

Words by Todd Stealey

No Cross No Crown will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Nuclear Blast Records from January 12th 2018.


Wolftooth - S/T (Album Review)

Release date: DD – Jan 19th 2018, CD, Mar 05th 2018. Vinyl, May 2018. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Wolftooth – S/T – Tracklisting

1. Blackbirds Call
2. Aegaeon
3. Sword Of My Father
4. White Mountain
5. Frost Lord
6. The Huntress
7. Season Of The Witch
8. Forged In Fire


Chris Sullivan - Guitar/ Vocals
Terry McDaniel - Bass
Jeff Cole - Guitar
Johnny Harrod - Drums/Vocals


For those who were enamoured by last years phenomenal three track EP by Richmond, Indiana's Wolftooth (and those who are not enamoured with it, simply haven't heard it yet and once they do as well as this album they undoubtedly will be), and who were wildly awaiting more material from the band, salvation is at hand with the release of their self titled debut album.

This monolithic eight track record (which thankfully feature the three stunning tracks that made up the EP) showcases a band who both promise and deliver outright with their music.

Wolftooth mix classic riffs (whether they are doomy, thrash, alternative, metal, stoner or a simply mesmerising mix of all) with the soaring, bluesy vocals of frontman Chris Sullivan and sweeping and heartfelt rhythms to create a behemoth of sound that is impossible not to get swept up by, this is music that will consume your heart and your head.

The trio of tracks that made up the EP still stand out and those tracks, the beautiful and hypnotic Aegaeon, the blissful and powerful The Huntress and the energetic bass led rhythms of White Mountain slot in perfectly with the rest of the album. Their inclusion results in the whole record standing out as a cohesive piece of artistry and the result is an eclectic mix of all that makes this kind of music so good and heaven for all fans of riff filled joyous music.

Songs such as the sublime opener Blackbirds Call, the pure power of Sword Of My Father, the magnificent Season Of The Witch and grooving album closer Forged sin Fire to name but a few are perfect examples of the brilliance of Wolftooth's music and the brilliance of this album.

The band play their hearts out throughout and the quality of the songs is unsurpassable in terms of execution with Sullivan (who also plays guitar) and the rest of the band (guitarist Jeff Cole, bassist Terry McDaniel Jr and drummer Johnny Harrod) demonstrating their skills as musicians and their vivacity for the music they are playing.

Even though it is so early into the new year, the quality of Wolftooth music is so strong and their songs are so well crafted and passionately delivered (and you also won't hear as many great riffs on an album) that it can be confidently stated that this album will feature at the top of many year ends lists when we finally get there, its that good an album.

Words by Gavin Brown

Thanks to Niels from Cursed Tongue Records for the promo. The album will be available to buy on DD – Jan 19th 2018, CD - Mar 05th 2018 and Vinyl - May 2018.

CD will be released by Blackseed Records. Vinyl will be released by Cursed Tongue Records.


Empress - Reminiscence (EP Review)

Release date: February 12th 2018. Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Reminiscence – Tracklisting

1.The Offering
4.They Speak Like Trees


Peter Sacco: Guitars/vox
Brenden Gunn: Bass
Chris Doyle: Drums


Empress is a new Sludge/Doom Power Trio who takes influence from bands such as CONAN, Pelican and early-Baroness. Their debut EP, Reminiscence has its fair share of loud sludgy moments and post-rock interludes with the band always evolving their sound on the EP.

Opening track - The Offering, is a psychedelic little number with Empress playing a full on Sludge Rock/Doom Metal track. This has an early Baroness style aggressive melody before the post-hardcore sounds merge as one with the hardcore growls with lead singer, Peter staying mightily angry throughout. The music is quite complex and groove based at times. You wouldn't think from this opening track that the band would adopt a more Post-Rock/Post-Metal sound.

Second track - Immer - is the first of two epic tracks with this song running over eight minutes. This song has Empress play an upbeat psychedelic post-rock/stoner/sludgy sound with a ferocious vibe that allows Empress to control the aggression of the music more naturally. There are subtle hints held within the song in what musical direction Empress takes on the second half of the song. The bluntness and aggression we've heard so far is replaced by a more ambient, uplifting and post-rock atmosphere. The vocals remain harsh but it's the music that's the most impressive. A daring style of Post-Rock and gloomy Sludge Rock/Metal sound leave you wanting more.

Third track - Baptize - opens with punk sounding bass lines before Empress return with a harsh and heavy doom metal offering. It's a more direct song with the music perhaps offering the heaviest parts on the EP and that is despite the short running time of less than three minutes.

Fourth track - They Speak Like Trees - is the second epic song and perhaps the best song on the EP. Empress starts to assure themselves more confidently. The music and vocals have a more world-weary feel with the Post-Metal/Sludge Metal dynamic working together than against each other. The band plays a more lucid style of psychedelic music at times. The whole mood of the song can be very chaotic but Empress manages to impress with their progressive and experimental style of Sludge/Doom/Post-Metal sounds.

The final song - Dawn - is more an ambient post-rock song with Empress leaving the heavy sounds behind and creating a lush psychedelic dream-like atmosphere. Reminiscence is a welcome distraction from the normal Sludge/Post-Metal bands out there. As Empress create individual songs with their own identities to each other.

The EP can be brutally loud at times but also superbly reflective and quiet as heard on the final song. I expect we haven't heard or witnessed the full range of sounds that Empress actually possesses. It may take a few more releases such as another EP or full length album before we begin to see the "real" Empress.

Until then, Reminiscence remains a beautifully played and violent delight with enough Sludge/Post-Metal riffs to keep you superbly entertained for a long time to come.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Peter from the band for the promo. Reminiscence is available to buy on DD from February 12th 2018.


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Monday, 8 January 2018

Conjurer - MIRE (Album Review)

Release date: February 23rd 2018. Label: Holy Roar Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

MIRE – Tracklisting



Dan Nightingale {Vocals/Guitar}
Brady Deeprose {Vocals/Guitar}
Jan Krause {Drums}
Conor Marshall {Bass}


Editor's Note - Simon who is reviewing this album is the bassist from UK Doom/Sludge Metal crew - GREENHORN

After what seems to have been a relatively quiet time for probably the UK's most prolific live act these last few months, we can expect to be seeing and hearing a lot more about them again in the coming months. And with good cause.

Before we go any further I feel I need to be honest on my previous thoughts on Conjurer because "Mire" has given me what I believe is called a moment of clarity.

I'd been fortunate enough to see them play live on a couple of occasions (and less fortunate that due to scheduling I've had to play after them. Can't recommend it.) and like everyone else who's ever seen them have always been blown away and left feeling... well left feeling like I've been violated by their sheer ferocity.

I was also fortunate enough to review their EP which at the time I loved. But the more I listened to it, the less I loved it. I can't quite put my finger on it, but to me I felt like perhaps it was too much. Too heavy, too aggressive and after its initial impact, I struggled with repeated listens.

Well I can tell you this for nothing. Repeated listens is no problem here. Other than to the detriment of the rest of my record collection...

Conjurer have employed incredible use of dynamics, touches of light and shade, sublime vocal interplay and even a few clean vocals to result in a genuinely phenomenal and emotive experience.

Sure that ferocity that you're expecting and that you get live is still very much present and correct, but when it's needed Conjurer don't shy away from dialling things back a notch, which ultimately makes the pay off that much greater when it kicks back in.

The first three tracks, "Choke" "Hollow" and "Thankless" set out their mission statement for the album pretty succinctly.

Showing their influences but without ever simply mimicking them, there are nods to black metal, death metal, grindcore and of course the sludge/doom scene that they find themselves perhaps most closely associated with. Touching on most genres of extreme metal, but always retaining their own identity. The biggest compliment I can give is to say that,Conjurer sound like Conjurer.

For me standout tracks are the magnificently spiteful "Retch" and the closing track "Hadal" which is impossible for me to listen to in the car anymore for fear of setting off an airbag as I try and (badly and indignantly) drum along on the dashboard.

The first time I listened to "Mire" in full, I found myself being a little surprised at how much I enjoyed it. As I reached to switch the playlist on my phone and listen to something else I was even more surprised when I couldn't bring myself to do it. So I just played it again. And again. And again...

And if you buy the record when it comes out via the incredible Holy Roar you'll find yourself doing exactly the same.

Words by Simon Williams

Thanks to Lisa at Hold Tight PR for the promo. MIRE will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Holy Roar Records from February 23rd 2018.