Born of a joint European tour, an invitation to collaborate for ArcTanGent festival in 2018, and a mutual fondness of riffs (as well as Peep Show, and memes, probably), Curse These Metal Hands is an album composed by members from two of the brightest bands in the UK’s promising metal scene, Pijn & Conjurer. From Pijn there is Joe Clayton on guitar and vocals, Luke Rees on bass/vocals, and drummer/vocalist Nick Watmough, and a Conjurer contingent of Brady Deeprose and Dan Nightingale, both taking up guitar and vocal duties.
Given each band’s past output you’d think that Curse These Metal Hands would be an intense, tenebrous amalgamation of post-metal and sludge, and although Pijn & Conjurer have produced something akin to Isis, it’s much more fun than that and more upbeat than most would have thought. Whereas Pijn’s Loss from last year was an album based around the various stages of grief, Curse These Metal Hands is audibly focussed on joy and hopefulness. Evidenced most clearly by the appropriately named opening track, “High Spirits”, which begins with a soft, airy intro and then sees the band recall early Baroness mixed with some splendid Thin Lizzy-style guitar licks.
The bright and warm tonality extends throughout most of Curse These Metal Hands’ 30-minute runtime. There’s a definite touch of Torche in Pijn & Conjurer’s approach – this is cheery but not cheesy heavy music that’s both powerful and pleasant. For those that already know the musical stylings of Holy Roar labelmates Pijn and Conjurer, some inherent parts from each band are definitely audible on this radiant release. Big riffs, driving basslines, blast-beats and throat-shredding vocals all make an appearance, especially on the uplifting “High Spirits”, and the moodiest of the four tracks “The Pall” is fairly familiar post-metal territory for Pijn fans.
Each of the three guitarists provides something distinctive yet they collaborate beautifully. The layering of impactful riffs and melodious picking, along with a variety of vocals and some neat drumming, make this is a huge sounding album. The four tracks flow seamlessly from one to the other, and aside from the fleeting slice of sludge supplied by “Endeavour”, these are unhurried longer-form compositions that gratifyingly soar to majestic, heavy crescendos and allow plenty of space for hushed, mellower moments, especially on the final track, “Sunday”.
Brilliantly paced and positively dynamic, Curse These Metal Hands is not just a measured and well-crafted album but is a thoroughly pleasing listen, sure to bring a smile to your face.
Curse These Metal Hands is released through Holy Roar on 16th August 2019