Monday, November 9, 2015

Local Love: Review of Conjurer's Old World Ritual

Despite hailing from Indianapolis, Conjurer sounds like they would fit in well with the legendary sludge metal scene of New Orleans. The works of Kirk Windstein seem particularly influential as the rough vocals and sharp yet bottom heavy guitar tone recall Crowbar while the pacing and occasional swagger remind one of Down's early days. Things never get too chilled out but there is a melodic consistency and the band is more interested in pounding out riffs than getting too harsh or biting.

In a way similar to Testament and Megadeth scaling back in the early 90s, a rounded approach to sludge can run the risk of dullness. The performance on Old World Ritual are tight and energetic but they can be a bit one-note at times. The guitars usually alternate between chugging patterns and melodic leads and the shouted vocals don't have much of an emotional range.
Fortunately, the songs' various styles keep this from being just another sludge album. "Black Throne" is easily the album's best track thanks to its slamming southern metal riff while songs like "Trudge Down" and "Witch's Hale" show off some faster punk influence. Even the chuggy tracks like the opening "Never Enough" and "Singularity" have catchy vocal lines that help them avoid monotony.

Overall, Conjurer's first full-length album could use more dynamic band performances but the variety of the songs keep this from sounding too typical. It isn't a commercial release by any means but its less aggressive approach may make it worth looking into for those just getting into the heavier side of the NOLA sound. With more adventurous musicianship, they could become another group of Indianapolis legends.

"Never Enough"
"Trudge Down"
"Black Throne"
"Gold Mask"

No comments: