Live Review: Conjurer – Wolverhampton
15th September 2023
Support: Unpeople, Hand of the Host
Words: Cat Finch
Photos: Tim Finch
There are live shows, and then there are live experiences that etch themselves into your memory. British metal titans, Conjurer, delivered an unforgettable night of sonic devastation at KK's Steel Mill, leaving the audience in a state of awe and bewilderment.
The tour itself, dubbed “United By Music”, was put together by Kerrang! and the Music Venue Trust. During Covid, Music Venue Trust managed to prevent the closure of all 900+ venues that they represent. However, the increasing severity of the cost-of-living crisis has resulted in multiple venues closing every month, with the latest stats pointing to 66 closures within the last year. This staggering figure continues at a rate of one venue a week.
Every Grassroots Music Venue that closes represents one less place where local communities can access affordable live music, decreased opportunities for new and emerging artists to perform live and fewer opportunities for event professionals to learn their trade. This tour aims to highlight some of those venues, bring trade into them and hopefully encourage people to return for shows thereafter!
Kicking off the evening were local extreme merchants Hand of the Host, who were uncompromising in their visceral attack on the Wolverhampton faithful. Not really complimenting the headliner, but displaying their aural prowess in the face of crowd all the same.
The surprise of the night came from full tour support Unpeople. This is the first time this band have crossed the path of The Razor’s Edge, but this will not be the last! Describing themselves as Alt-Rock their sound is a smorgasbord of influences. With thumping bass lines and catchy riffs they had the whole room moving. The perfect complementary act for Conjurer, this was an inspired booking.
But is was over to Conjurer to steel the show.
Kicking off the night with ‘Hadal’, Conjurer wasted no time in demonstrating their prowess. The thunderous drums and bone-crushing guitar riffs sent shockwaves through the venue, setting the stage for what was to come. ‘Choke’ followed, and the intensity only escalated. The crowd, a sea of banging heads and moshing bodies, responded in kind, feeding off the band's raw energy.
As the setlist continued, it was clear that Conjurer was here to take no prisoners. ‘A Chasm Forged in Dread and Disarray’ and ‘Suffer Alone’ showcased their ability to seamlessly blend melodic passages with sheer brutality, creating an atmosphere of controlled chaos.
‘Rot’ and ‘Retch’ added a darker, more sinister tone to the proceedings. The band's tight instrumentation and guttural vocals reverberated through the venue. ‘All You Will Remember’ provided a brief respite, a haunting yet beautiful interlude that allowed the audience to catch their breath before the onslaught resumed.
‘It Dwells" and ‘Of Flesh Weaker Than Ash’ served as a one-two punch, demonstrating Conjurer's knack for crafting songs that are both emotionally charged and ferociously heavy. The dynamic shifts in these tracks were executed flawlessly, keeping the crowd engaged from start to finish.
‘Those Years, Condemned’ was a highlight of the night, with its intricate guitar work and intense, cathartic climax. The crowd's response was nothing short of euphoric.
Closing the night with 'Cracks in the Pyre', Conjurer left no doubt that they had just delivered a show for the ages. The audience, drenched in sweat and ringing ears, could only stand in amazement at what they had witnessed.
In a world where live music is a treasured escape, Conjurer's performance at KK's Steel Mill was a reminder of the transformative power of metal. A perfect salute to the Music Venue Trust, which they were playing in support of this evening.