In contrast to the straightforward NOLA sludge seen on 2015’s Old World Ritual, Conjurer has taken a far more atmospheric direction for their second album Sigils. The Indianapolis group remains rooted in brutally plodding riffs and tempos that don’t waver all that much, but there’s more time devoted to dynamic shifts and extended buildups. Considering the somewhat one-dimensional concerns that came with their debut, it’s exciting to see them move forward in such a fashion on Sigils.
While this shift could be attributed to the synths achieving greater prominence, the band’s core elements are kept intact. Songs like “Will of the Hag” and “Incantate” have an Eastern tint that provides a more exotic flavor, but the massive guitar tone is still largely indebted to classic Down and Crowbar. I can’t tell if the vocals explore more ground or if there’s just more going on musically, but the shouts are more comfortable and don’t feel as one-note as they did before.
With “Rusted Crown” serving as the sole attempt at speed, the album’s abundance of slow, atmospheric tracks can admittedly run together at times. But while the riff work can feel somewhat stock at times, the gradually shifting dynamics help these tracks feel more ritualistic than repetitive. “At Last” is the best example of these tropes at work, especially with its catchy main riff and bass break in the middle, but “Light of Death” proves to be a haunting addition.
Overall, Conjurer’s second full-length album invokes a direction that builds on their debut and leaves even more room to grow in the future. The more ritualistic aspects work well with their pre-established sludge sound and I can easily see more synth embellishments or even narrative vocals on a future installment. A catchy tune in the vein of “Black Throne” might’ve given Sigils an extra boost, but the album ultimately accomplishes what it sets out to do. I can only hope the demon they summoned in the process was friendly.
“Light of Death”