If the sound of Mire was defined by the countless shows Conjurer played during its construction, Páthos is the result of Conjurer’s inability to play any at all. Yet, despite a title that translates from the native Greek, literally, as ‘suffering’, listeners shouldn’t expect any kind of pointed reflection on the pandemic experience. “It was more that we couldn’t try to play those songs in any kind of live capacity – be that in a room together or at a gig,” Conor explains. “There was no tweaking or road testing. If you could play it sat down in your house, it went on the album. It’s only now that the world is opening back up and gigs are happening again that we’re trying to play songs live and it’s like, ‘Jesus Christ!’”
When Brady described the band’s new material as making their old sound like “big, dumb idiot riffs” during our studio visit in 2020, it might have raised a few eyebrows, but it’s safe to say that the titanic, shapeshifting riffage of It Dwells, the jarring passages of jangly folk and angular math-rock in Those Years, Condemned, and the stomach-lurching death-doom of In Your Wake more than fit the bill. The old influences – Gojira and YOB, Converge and Electric Wizard – are still at play, but they’re deployed with far more calculation and nuance. On top of that, the frontman name-checks American/Canadian post-metal supremos SUMAC, but prefers to summarise the wave of “in-depth, advanced, muso, extreme metal” he’s trying to tap into as the “Roadburn scene”, referring to The Netherlands’ avant-garde metal gathering.
“I want to take that Roadburn sound and make it approachable to a Download Festival audience,” he expands. “I’m filtering stuff like Imperial Triumphant through the mind of someone who came up listening to Trivium, Bullet For My Valentine and The Black Dahlia Murder. You know when you listen to one of those [artier] bands and say, ‘This song would be 10-out-of-10 if you just turned off that big old brain of yours at the end, and give us the riff’? We’re the band that does that.”
Dan shrugs his agreement: “There are lots of great bands from that Roadburn scene, but, well, it isn’t very fun, is it?”