Review – Conjurer at The Shed, 2nd February 2019

with Monachopsis and Pijn

Reviewed by Kashif Hussain.

To celebrate Independent Venue Week, the fine folks at The Shed organised a stacked gig, featuring two of Holy Roar’s finest bands plus some rising local stars.

To those unfamiliar with the city that came to The Shed from out of town, there could’ve been no better band to introduce them to Leicester’s metal scene than Monachopsis. Technical death metal complete with scathingly fast guitar-work and blast beats provided a contrast to the more doom and post metal-influenced music played by the later bands, but all in all they managed to kick off the night on a particularly strong and energetic note.

Things calmed down temporarily when Manchester’s Pijn (pronounced “pin”) came onto the stage. Purposefully slow, ambient post metal with very sparse vocals might not be to everyone’s tastes, but fans of bands like Isis and Jesu would’ve found something to groove to within the dreamy-yet-desolate shoegaze-esque guitars.

Those wishing for something a bit heavier and more immediate when a surprise set from Curse These Metal Hands began. For the unaware, this is a supergroup featuring all three members of Pijn plus with both guitarists/vocalists from their label-mates Conjurer, who’ve previously collaborated at ArcTanGent festival. What resulted was the best of both worlds: the raw build-ups and emotional weight of Pijn alongside the murky heaviness and pained vocals of Conjurer.

After this short but sweet surprise set, the 3 members of Pijn left the stage and were replaced by the remainder of Conjurer, formally beginning their headline slot. Beginning with the forebodingly massive intro Choke from their solid debut EP, 2018’s The Mire, anyone in the crowd who weren’t familiar with them until now would have an idea of what’s in stock for the rest of their set.

Conjurer Photo: Kevin Gaughan

Playing material from both of their releases, namely the aforementioned debut album and 2016’s EP I, Conjurer showed once again why they’ve catapulted to the front of the British metal scene in such a short space of time. A tag team assault of dual vocals and monstrous riffs that was every bit as dynamic as their stage presence. Heavier tracks like Retch had a good portion of the audience erupting in movement, but the heads didn’t stop banging until their set came to an end.

Unfortunately, issues with gear meant that they had to end their set a little sooner than expected, but they made up for this with an energetic cover. At first they teased that they’ll be playing some Paramore, but quickly launched into Mastodon’s Blood and Thunder, albeit with a characteristically gnarled twist that Conjurer are known for.

For the past few years, Conjurer have earnestly made a name for themselves for their solid releases and tight live shows. Later this year they’re set to embark on their first ever US tour, but us in the UK, particularly Leicester where they play fairly regularly, can safely say we had the pleasure of seeing them before they end up becoming a worldwide hit in the metal scene.

Click here to see Conjurer perform live at the gig.

Conjurer Photo: Kevin Gaughan

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