Review: Conjurer – Mire

Conjurer Mire 1440x1440

Label: Holy Roar Records

There’s been quite a lot of hype around Conjurer recently, and it’s easy to hear why. The new album from the UK band, Mire, is a fearsome mix of forward-thinking, progressive song-writing and supremely heavy music. Sitting somewhere between early Opeth, early Mastodon, and Gojira, Mire is as devastatingly heavy as it is heart-achingly beautiful as it is emotionally cathartic. It’s a hell of a gut-punch of a record, made all the more impressive by the fact that this is only their debut album.

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The Clearing Path – Watershed Between Firmament And The Realm Of Hyperborea



Label: I, Voidhanger Records

The Metal Archives page for The Clearing Path describes the band’s style simply as “black metal” – and by Satan’s horns, that is one monstrously misleading understatement. Sure, black metal may underpin the sound of new album Watershed Between Firmament and the Realm of Hyperborea, as well as previous album Watershed Between Earth and Firmament, but there’s so much more going on beyond that. This is the mutant spawn of black, progressive, and technical death metal, all combined in to one profoundly ambitious half hour. If you’ve ever complained about black metal lacking in ambition (and I’m certainly guilty of that!), this is an album to demonstrate that there’s plenty of ambitious artists still out there in 2017.

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Coraxo – Sol


Label: Snow Wave Records

Though it’s not what might necessarily be termed a big release, Sol, the second album from sci-fi inspired band Coraxo has still been one of my most anticipated releases of 2017. Their previous album, Neptune, was the kind of record that showed a lot of promise, mixing prog and electronic sounds with melodic death in a way that was full of ambition, but didn’t quite reach the heights the band were so clearly striving for. The feeling was always that their next record would be a big improvement, and now I’ve been able to spend some quality time with it, it’s safe to say that Sol is a considerable improvement, but has a few moments that hold it back from greatness, though it is still a hugely enjoyable listen with lots to recommend about it.

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Burial In The Sky -Persistence Of Thought


Label: Self-released

With the best technical music – regardless of genre – the technicality of it isn’t always something that the listener really notices. Rather than seeking to impress the listener with a constant stream of unorthodox time signatures and key changes, the best technical music uses its technicality in service of good songwriting, so that what the listener’s focus is more on “wow, that song is great!” rather than “wow, that’s a nice collection of pick-sweeps”. Burial In The Sky aren’t quite there with debut full-length Persistence Of Thought, but god-damn are they ever close. This is tech-death of superb talent, both in terms of musical proficiency and songcraft, that had me swept along right from the first listen.

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Veilburner – The Obscene Rite


Label: Self-released

Even semi-regular readers will probably be aware by now that even if I have plenty of time for music that is creative and challenging, I’m not a big fan of overt prog influences. So, when I review a record like The Obscene Rite by US duo Veilburner, that should probably be taken in to account. The album is a black/death beast that gets practically everything right when it comes to prog sounds and influences, with the music feeling creative and exciting rather than bloated and self-indulgent. Comparisons to the likes of Arcturus, Dødheimsgard, and Akercocke are all warranted and deserved, which must give some further indication of how good this album is. Even if prog-influenced metal isn’t usually your thing, there’s more than enough power and quality in The Obscene Rite to potentially win you over.

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The Wolves Of Avalon – Across Corpses Grey

Wolves of Avalon - Across Corpses Grey

Label: Godreah Records

Given that The Wolves Of Avalon include Metatron (also of The Meads Of Asphodel) in their ranks, it’s no surprise that their folk-metal (or, if you prefer the band’s own description, prog-pagan) has tended towards the historical and dramatic, with a healthy progressive element to it for good measure, and little regard for convention. Yet even when compared with previous albums Carrion Crows Over Camlam and Boduicca’s Last Stand, their latest release, Across Corpses Grey, is a vast, challenging album. Consisting of one 30-minute long track and two covers, and including guest sports from Turios (Drudkh), Hildr Valkyrie, and Daemonskald (SIG;AR;TYR), it is unapologetically epic in scope, playing by no rules save the band’s own, and being very successful in doing so. I went in to it rather warily, being no great fan of folk or pagan metal, but by the time it was done, Across Corpses Grey had completely won me over, and my appreciation of it has only grown with each listen.
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