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Live Reviews Reviews

Live Review: Monolord, Archarus, and Conjurer at The White Rabbit

There were some rather unlikely pairings for Monolord’s first ever Indianapolis appearance. Metal shows in general are a rare occurrence at The White Rabbit Cabaret, and Archarus and Conjurer aren’t exactly the best-known Indy bands outside the most devoted doom circles. But having not seen either local in a year or two, I was curious to see how they’d developed in that time. Opening for such a massively snowballing headliner also served as a fun way to raise the stakes. Fortunately, the stars were right as this trifecta proved to be an excellent combination with an enthusiastic turnout to witness it.

Also, this bill featured three bands whose names are each one word that’s eight letters long. Who would I be to question such perfection?

Conjurer started the night off in true sludgy doom fashion. Most of the material they played will be on their upcoming album Sigils, though at least one song from 2015’s Old World Ritual was thrown in there. I’ve not had the chance to hear the studio versions of these tracks yet, but I can assure you that they are even slower and more sprawling than their debut material. Their massive Crowbar-style crunch and barking vocals continue to be defining traits, even if the latter were mixed a little too deeply in the mire at first. Their banter was lighthearted, but their riffs helped set a dark mood.

Photos by Murder Basement

Archarus opted for a set of entirely new material, an especially ballsy move since they’ve not announced any concrete information regarding an upcoming album. Their days of The Sword worship may very well be behind them, as these songs are spacier and more progressive than even their split with Thorr-Axe last year. Their live mix was massive but clean, reflecting not only a secure understanding of their trio dynamic, but also their confidence as performers. The vocals remain sparse but considering these buildups and elaborate lengths, the riffs handle the talking just fine. I’m excited to see how this’ll pan out in the studio when the time is ready. In the meantime, there was talk of them being the night’s highlight and I sure won’t contest it.

Photos by Murder Basement

But while the locals’ sets were based around material to come, Monolord is riding the momentum of last year’s Rust. The guitars are even filthier live than on record, and the tempos arguably even more driving, but the doom dirges were at full force. Their vocals were also pleasantly coherent and prominent in the mix, further reinforcing what sets them apart from the other would-be Electric Wizards out there. The Rust material was well represented, “Dear Lucifer” proved to be the ultimate downer singalong despite a couple sour notes toward the end, and the title track was especially powerful. “Empress Rising” also proved to be a strong closer with an especially ecstatic crowd reaction, quite the achievement considering the thirteen-minute runtime.

Photos by Murder Basement

All in all, one of the better shows I’ve been to lately. Indianapolis is a true city of doom and that reflects not only in our bands but also our audiences. Check out Monolord on this tour if you get the chance, and brace yourselves for the excellence that Archarus and Conjurer are preparing to deliver!

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