The album opened with a sonic assault (“Crater,” right after the “Prelude”), a wall of sound that hit like a wave, immediately grabbing my attention. The Crotals weren’t here to ease the listener in gently; they wanted to immerse the listener in their world headfirst. The fuzzy craft of sludge metal-rock they promised was apparent from the get-go, speaking to the raw, unfiltered energy that has defined their career.
What struck me the most was the clarity in their evolution. From the earlier works of “Fuel ! Flames ! Blast !” to “Horde,” it was evident that The Crotals were on a quest to find their true center. With “Conjure,” they seemed to have arrived. The influences of legendary bands were still present, entwined with the nuances of more contemporary muses like Kvelertak or High on Fire. The amalgamation was seamless, creating a sonic landscape that was both nostalgic and fresh.
As the tracks unfolded, it became clear that “Conjure” was a visceral experience. The heavy distortion, the crashing tubes, and the unrestrained drumming formed a cacophony that, paradoxically, felt harmonious. It was a controlled chaos, a deliberate unleashing of pent-up energy that begged to be felt rather than just heard.
The friendly nature of The Crotals, mentioned in passing, added an unexpected layer to the experience. Knowing that behind this wall of sound were approachable individuals seemed almost surreal. It was as if the aggressive intensity of their music was a deliberate contrast, a way to channel their collective energy into a sonic force while maintaining a down-to-earth demeanor offstage.
“Conjure” felt like a personal journey through a musical storm. Each track was a chapter, a sonic manifestation of the band’s journey and their refusal to conform. It wasn’t just about technical prowess; it was about emotion, the shared experience between the musicians and the listener.
In the end, The Crotals had indeed conjured something special with this album. It was an immersive exploration of sound and emotion. The Crotals had laid bare their truth, and in that vulnerability, “Conjure” should leave an indelible mark on the listeners’ musical psyche.