Conjurer + Earth Moves and Armed For Apocalypse
KIFF, Aarau, Switzerland
Conjurer's rise has been one that seems particularly fast with the band making huge strides in only three years of existence. However, it’s been as much a case of working hard as being in the right place, at the right time and tonight’s performance shows just how far they have come since the first time this writer saw them in the winter of 2016 supporting Regarde Les Hommes Tomber. Back then they were a band showing promise and in 2019 they are clearly a band who are ready to make the next leap in their career. It’s been wonderful to watch over the last few years and excitement is high (personally) despite the somewhat lacklustre attendance from the Swiss scene.
No matter, because Armed For Apocalypse open the show as though they are playing to hundreds and the American trio bring the energy in the small room up several steps in the short time they are on stage before making way for Earth Moves and their emotionally heavy sound. Straddling sludge, post-rock, hardcore and a dark edge, Earth Moves are soon to release their second record, Human Intricacy and tonight they showcase plenty of new songs alongside their older material. Fronted by Jordan Hill, the band exude a presence that explores fragility and strength through this voice, which moves from soaring cleans and guttural roars to spoken word sadness with sublime ease.
Their set is one coloured with anguish and pain yet a small light of hope does shine through on occasion, giving a lift to songs that could otherwise be seen as wallowing. Closing with a beautifully rendered “Pia Mater,” Earth Moves bring everything they have to the fore; Hill screams without a microphone, the tightly controlled guitars soar and deftly precise drum-work in the closing moments bring about a rush of sadness so profound that for this attendee, it all becomes a little too overwhelming.
It’s up to Conjurer, then, to bring about a mood shift and damn, that mood is lifted from despair into hopeful elation within the opening moments. As 2018s Mire proved, the quartet are able to move from sludgy soundscapes into post-metal beauty with naught but a breath and tonight their performance takes the band to a whole new level. The light show alone is spectacular and the twin vocals of Dan Nightingale and Brady Deeprose are powerful in their execution, both bringing weight to their words with roars and screams. Guitars allow tension and release in equal measure and so “Of Flesh Weaker Than Ash” breathes with suspense while “Hollow” gives quieter moments space to surrender to the narrative.
Conjurer have always had an engaging dynamic and their stage presence has grown exponentially over the years; they don’t give you any opportunity to look away and for the time they are on stage your entire focus is on their energy. They give everything to their music and tonight the small crowd shows their appreciation whenever possible, particularly during the monumental closing moments of “Hadal,” a track which ends the evening on thrillingly crushing guitars and vocals that seem born of pain. It’s electrifying and a moment that shan’t be forgotten.