Thursday 23 November 2023

The Crotals - Conjure (Album Review) & Exclusive Full Album Premiere

Release Date: November 24th 2023. Record Label: Argonauta Records. Formats: DD/Vinyl

Conjure - Tracklisting




Tic Tic

Silver Lakes



La Boue

Black Cat




The Crotals return with their third album Conjure and it's a dark and despairing take on all things Sludge and Stoner Metal compared to their previous two albums. This is a band who bring a dynamically powerful vintage sound to their new album whilst employing an Indie Rock outlook on the more mellower and quieter parts of the album. Conjure features harsh growls, down-tuned grooves and heavy amplifier doomed out melodic parts which sees the band wander straight into the Post-Doom or Psychedelic Stoner Metal arenas. 

There's a subtle harsh sounding environment for The Crotals to play their music with a cold metallic sound which is perhaps the main creative flux of their music. The Crotals are influenced by a wide range of different musical influences, bands and legacy's for a record that's constantly drawing themes from the world of Indie Rock and Heavy Metal which is laid down amazingly well on the opening tracks of Prelude, Crater and Cuts. The songs can be upbeat one moment and pitch-black the next with a Post-Rock/Post-Metal vibe with shades of YOB and Neurosis appearing on within Crater before exploding into a Stoner Rock explosion on Cuts which blends Groove Metal, Post-Punk and pissed off Sludge/Stoner Metal grooves that have a deliciously dark melodic twist.

The next stages of the album takes a more Grungy left field turn with Tic Tic and Silver Lakes that darkly driven Sludge/Stoner Metal aspect having moments of chugging HUGE world-building riffs that can be quite experimental when TRUMPETS appear within Silver Lakes. This is one of the standout and heaviest moments of the album with The Crotals once again bringing Pitch Black melodies to the album with a slightly hesitant Psych Metal theme with outlandish vocals to match. 

Sixth song Impetus is more a Sludge/Punk Rock number which is the catchiest track on the album. Echoes of Alt Rock appear within the lyrics but The Crotals join forces with Danek (former Unfold member). There seems to be a few guest musicians within this album that gives Conjure a difficult offbeat but always highly rewarding feel where the individual tracks have their own unique sound and identity to each other. Impetus allows The Crotals the perfect chance to play straight forward sludgy grooves which works superbly well with the experimental twinges of what the song and album ultimately brings.

Up next is Taenia that continues with the experimental and off-beat creative imagery with Trumpets appearing once more within but still essentially being a Progressive Doom/Sludge Metal track with Blackened Stoner Metal moments. The vocals remain constantly aggressive and harsh sounding with the band never afraid to try different things with their music and the overall message of the album.

The final tracks of La Boue, Black Cat, Ecorce and Trauma deliver a more heavy cinematic sound with The Crotals once again exploring different creative themes where harsh growls collide with the free-flowing experimental Doom/Sludge Metal sounds. This part of the album does remind me of KVELERTAK and The Melvins in places with how THe Crotals merge different ideas that can be both brutally heavy and quite laid back at times even when the demonic vocals take centre stage.

Conjure is quite an original and highly engaging slice of Experimental based Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal. Some of the wilder and crazier ideas of the album may put some folks off but if you're willing to invest your time with Conjure then you'll be handsomely rewarded with a unique sounding experience. This allows Conjure to become one of the most exciting and weirdest releases of the year. Awesome stuff...

Words by Steve Howe 

You can listen to the album in full with this exclusive album premiere. Thanks to the awesome folks over at Argonauta Records and Grand Sounds Promotion

Conjure will be available to buy on CD/DD via Argonauta Records and Vinyl from Cold Stone Records from November 24th 2023.


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