ALBUM REVIEW: Páthos – Conjurer

When ILLUSIONIST releases his first LP Mud in 2018, the heavy metal collective paid attention. Their potent mix of mud, death, doom, black metal and hardcore was hard to ignore and the record was a staple on year-end charts. They were quickly proclaimed as one of Britain’s finest young bands and were recruited by the legendary Nuclear explosionwhere they sit on the same list as metal legends such as KILLER, MACHINE HEAD and LOST PARADISE. Five years later, and with anticipation reaching fever pitch, Pathetic is finally – thankfully – here.

The singles that were released revealed a less riffy iteration of the band, but felt much more fleshed out in other areas. Therefore, Pathetic is a multi-faceted disc that will scratch all your metal cravings. This tackles the topics of anxiety, fear, loss and the afterlife – suitably heavy topics for a band that knows a thing or two about getting sonically heavy. These subjects also lend themselves perfectly to moments of beauty and album opening. He lives highlights all that ILLUSIONIST now bring to the table. When it was unveiled as the record’s lead single, its cleaner melodies and more complex tones and structures showed incredible growth. Many fans will have played it To infinity just to have a hit from this beautiful band, but hearing it in the context of the record, and as a precursor to everything that follows, the song took on a whole new lease of life.

As much as ILLUSIONIST deserve all the applause for expanding their sound and sonic universe, their heavier side cannot be ignored. suffer alone is a fast, frantic thrill ride that zips through the shade in less than three minutes, but packs as much barbarism as a track three times as long. In your wake contains perhaps the most powerful riff on Pathetic and carries within it a terrible majesty as striking as it is horrifying. The heaviness reaches its climax Basil, culminating in a totally apocalyptic final 45 seconds, with a drone of tension to give it that rotten cherry on top of that dark, brutal sundae. It’s a breakdown that will stop you in its tracks. Scratch that – it’s a failure that could stop planetary rotation. A jaw-dropping, void-creating weight that deserves to be a defining moment of their live shows and career to date.

The album ends with Cracks in the stake, which is an incredibly tender number that reflects on death and what comes next. He is full of emotions and picks on you until you feel nothing more than a raw nerve. It is an element of ILLUSIONISTthe sound of which has been addressed in their earlier work, such as on Frail from the first EP Ibut they clearly took notes from their longtime friends and Curse those metal hands collaborators PJN to refine and hone that into something genuinely touching. As ILLUSIONIST are used to, the song explodes into a cathartic final outburst, but it’s still spectacularly representative of the emotional journey one pursues through loss and tragedy; it rounds off Pathetic with a meaty final flourish for a combination that will live with you long after this album is finished.

On a personal level, each member threw down the gauntlet and pushed themselves to deliver a stunning record. John KrauseThe battery fires like heavy artillery, reaching technical heights of breathtaking range and skill. Bass lines courtesy of Conor Marshall keep the thunder rolling all the time and add an evil, malevolent tinge to it all. And let’s talk about the vocals: just from an album and an EP, ILLUSIONIST characterized themselves as having some of the most formidable voxes on the scene today, thanks to vocalists/guitarists Dan Nightingale and Brady Deeprose. On Patheticthis dual approach remains one of the most formidable and impressive elements of their stellar overall performance, and only soars with Nightingale‘s cleaner additions.

Mud set the bar ridiculously high, and yet ILLUSIONIST jumped on it with ease. This is a stunning work of art that will once again put the quartet on the year-end charts and cement them as one of Britain’s most promising bands. There’s no doubt that they’ll soon be headlining the biggest metal festivals around the world, but more than that, they’ve set a trajectory that could soon see them considered the best of this generation. NEUROSIS Where GOJIRA. It’s a group of generational talent. Get on board now, if you haven’t already, so you can one day say, “I remember when…”

Rating: 10/10

Páthos is set to be released on July 1 via Nuclear Blast Records.

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