Conjureth – The Parasitic Chambers Review

It’s nice to have something to look forward to at the start of a new year—even nicer when that thing is some truly evil death metal. Thanks to San Diego trio Conjureth, and their sophomore release The Parasitic Chambers, I got exactly that. When I covered their previous outburst, Majestic Dissolve, I noted that their biggest hurdle was injecting more variety in their riffs. My hope was that with just a little more pizazz, they would unleash a devastating monster unto this unsuspecting sponge, a total sucker for aural abuse.

Once again, I got exactly that. The Parasitic Chambers is fucking angry. It’s fucking mean. I asked for more diversity, and axe-slingers Ian Mann and Wayne Sarantopoulos delivered a metric fuckton of it. Riff salad doesn’t begin to describe the absolute maelstrom of destruction wrought in these tomes, so overburdened with vile conjurations that it borders on a filthy, sewer-dwelling breed of tech-death. Drummer Frankie Saenz matches Ian’s and Wayne’s insanity beat for beat, pummeling the skins to within an inch of life, and then swiping another half inch just for kicks. Wayne’s workmanlike vocal performance suits the material well, too, staying in the pocket and letting the riffs do the talking. In a nutshell, imagine Immolation in the midst of a psychotic break, and that’s exactly what this material embodies.

As you would expect, the cost of such an unpredictable collection of unhinged riffs, solos and blasts is a near total absence of songwriting. For some, that won’t matter much. However, I can’t help but lose engagement. In the process of putting every drop of blood, sweat, and tears into writing some of the most creative and vicious riffs in the old-school death metal colosseum, Conjureth neglected to tie it all together. This is evident in the record’s wild solos as well. They are entertaining and technically proficient in isolation, yet not a one fits the song in which they are shoehorned (“Dimensional Ascendancy” and “A Blood Romance”). Additionally, closer “The Unworshipped II” is a total mess—unlike its excellent predecessor on Majestic Dissolve—and serves as an apt encapsulation of all that’s lacking in this sophomore effort. It flows about as smoothly as curdled milk and, at six minutes, wanders aimlessly until it unceremoniously collapses the record. The disorganization that personifies this closer pervades every corner of The Parasitic Chambers to varying degrees. Discerning one song from any other, save for one or two outliers, is therefore an exercise in futility. Constant whiplash from riff to riff for thirty-eight minutes straight compounds the issue, and threatens to completely unravel what should be a list-worthy outing.

Yet, those riffs just murderdeathkill everything in their path. Whereas previous efforts suffered from a relative lack of ideas, this one is positively bursting with ripe offal. Even for someone like me, who wants to be bombarded with everything a band can muster, Conjureth test my absorbent limits. “Smothering Psalms,” “Dimensional Ascendancy,” “A Blood Romance,” “The Ancient Presence,” and especially album juggernaut “Deathless Sway of Torsos Calm” send me into fits of headbanging and windmilling the likes of which would make the world’s foremost osteopath vomit. Pulling from all kinds of wells, whether it be chugs and groove (“Deathless Sway of Torsos Calm”), off-kilter twists and ridiculous fretboard acrobatics (“Devastating Cataclysmic Unearthing”), or thrashy freakouts (“From Ceremonies Past”), Conjureth left no stone unturned in the pursuit of ripping death. Through that approach, they found a way to center a core identity around wild abandon. Across the board, the vitriol and vitality exploding from these certifiable nutjobs’ fingers, feet, limbs, and faces suggests a level of talent and determination that we see most often in our cherished classics.

As messy and uncoordinated as The Parasitic Chambers is, there’s no denying that it turns spines to dust in an instant, and for many death metal fans, that’s what matters most. It’s an unstoppable force of frenetic riffs and incalculable fury. There is no way to listen to this and come out of it without loss of limb, or at least a few shattered bones and punctured organs. A true nightmare would be to fathom a death metal release as full of rage and venom as The Parasitic Chambers combined with the songwriting cohesion of Majestic Dissolve. Such a killer would be impossible to capture, quell or contain. Sadly, The Parasitic Chambers is not quite yet that monolith. Nonetheless, Conjureth are infinitely capable of getting the job done, so I anxiously await their third attempt. It’s gonna hurt!


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Memento Mori
Websites: conjureth.bandcamp.com/music | facebook.com/conjureth
Releases Worldwide: January 23rd, 2023

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