Conjurer: the band dragging British metal into a new era of heavy

(Image credit: Press)

The Watts Memorial To Heroic Self-Sacrifice is a hidden gem of London’s dark tourism scene. Tucked away in Postman’s Park, a stone’s throw from St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, it’s a wall bearing 54 plaques recounting tragic yet selfless deaths. The epitaphs hail 62 individuals - men, women and children as young as 12 - who gave up their lives trying to save others. 

This is where Hammer had arranged to meet Conjurer guitarist/vocalist Brady Deeprose to discuss Páthos, the East Midlands quartet’s forthcoming second album. It would have made a suitably bleak backdrop for unpicking a dense, multi-faceted and much-anticipated collection that Brady has previously, and somewhat mischievously, described as a) “objectively, the best album anyone’s ever made” and b) “just more miserable songs”. 

However, they say God laughs when men make plans, and in typical British fashion, it’s absolutely pissing it down at the appointed hour of our rendezvous. So, instead, we head to the nearest branch of Pret A Manger. This ends up becoming just as apt a setting. 

For while Conjurer - completed by vocalist/guitarist Dan Nightingale, bassist Conor Marshall and drummer Jan Krause - are justly acknowledged as one of the most vital, pivotal acts on the UK metal scene right now, Brady, unlike the ‘faces’ of other heavily hyped rising metal acts, isn’t some unknowable, inaccessible enigma. He’s just a regular kid from Daventry, Northamptonshire, making the kind of music that he wants to hear. There’s no contrivance to Conjurer’s crushing, monolithic metal, and for many, that’s a key part of the band’s appeal. 

“It’s always been that the music is the thing that we take seriously,” Brady states, securing a window seat, a bottle of Coke Zero in his hand. “We want to make exciting, heavy music that we fucking love, and then it’s about expressing that in a genuine way.” 

The next time he’s required to state his occupation on a legal document, Brady will be able to write down ‘Musician’. Having recently left a job managing a branch of Toolstation - a tenure he describes as “fucking awful” - he’s just returned to the UK from a European tour supporting US hardcore supergroup End, led by Counterparts vocalist Brendan Murphy and Fit For An Autopsy guitarist (and Every Time I Die/Body Count/A Day To Remember producer) Will Putney.

He will enjoy six whole days at his new home in Wembley with his American wife, Sam, before jetting off again, this time to Scandinavia for headline shows. Yet, Brady freely admits, “I was never really passionate about music growing up.”


(Image credit: Press)

Born to a middle-class family in the market town of Daventry on September 6, 1994, Brady didn’t show any particular interest in music until he started secondary school, and even then, he reveals that his initial motivation was born of simple expediency. “I started playing the cello to get out of RE lessons because they clashed,” he laughs. “So Satan was on the cards from day one.” 

Nonetheless, the youngster proved to be a bit of a talent. He started playing in local orchestras and, by the time he was 13, was performing classical music at London’s majestic Royal Albert Hall. Simultaneously, he began to pay attention to his father’s record collection. “My dad got me into The Darkness and Muse when I was 12 or 13,” he remembers. “I wanted to be Justin Hawkins. I still do to this day.” 

Brady developed a one-track mind. In his mid-teens, he started higher education early, signing on to study Music Performance at the University Of Northampton. At the same time, he cut his teeth in local pop-punk and metal bands, meeting his future Conjurer bandmates on the Midlands music scene. 

“There was a cool venue [in Rugby] called The Vault,” he recalls, “and me, Dan, Conor and Jan all played there in different bands at one point or another. One bill had all of us, in separate bands, supporting Sylosis.” 

In the summer of 2014, shortly after Brady wrapped up his studies, the four formed Conjurer. Two years on, they debuted with l, a four-track EP released by Holy Roar, which meshed sludge, doom, death and post-metal. Guitars were tuned subterraneously low, and played slow as fuck, while Brady and Dan roared their lungs out with enough intensity to make Gojira’s Joe Duplantier sound like a fieldmouse. 

Then, in March 2018, came Mire. Fucking hell. In a 9/10 review, Hammer’s Stephen Hill called it “a breathtaking debut album” from “a group of musicians that are wise well beyond their years,” and the album’s darkly poetic lyrics and sonic savagery made it an instant underground smash. 

They supported technical death metallers Rivers Of Nihil in the States in March 2019, made their Download debut three months later, and rounded out the year with a UK/EU tour. In 2020, they supported Finnish melodic death metallers Insomnium, and last year they signed to Nuclear Blast. 

Now, exactly six years after the release of l, comes Páthos. Rather than casting the musical net wider, Conjurer’s second full-length set consolidates their core ingredients, weaving them together seamlessly. 

Stick on Those Years or Condemned and you’ll hear a gentle acoustic melody that’s subsequently re-explored as a balls-out electric riff. All You Will Remember is a sludge metal behemoth that, in its first two minutes alone, uses every vocal technique in Conjurer’s arsenal, from whispers to growls. Basilisk casts delicate post-rock guitar playing on top of barrelling percussion, and lead-off single It Dwells, released as an album teaser in March, sneaks a delicious solo in between its rampaging verses. There’s so much going on all of the time, but every single decision makes sense. 

“It’s really dense,” Brady says of the album the band began recording in November 2020 and completed in March last year. “I think Mire felt way more immediate to me. What I’ve found with most people that have listened to Páthos is that they’d go, [halfheartedly] ‘Oh, this is cool.’ And then three months later they’ll come back to me saying, ‘Oh, no, I really love this record!’ When we were writing Mire, we were into Gojira and The Black Dahlia Murder. Those were our influences. Now we’re listening to fucking [NYC experimental metallers] Imperial Triumphant!” 

However, according to Brady, inspiration came more from the people that Conjurer toured with before the pandemic than it did from what they were listening to. “When we were on that Rivers Of Nihil tour [in spring 2019], Wes Hauch from Alluvial and Brann Dailor from Mastodon turned up to hang out. Getting to see how these bands work influences what we do far more than just listening to a record. That breadth of exposure to new music is way more represented on Páthos than it was on Mire.” 

Audiences got their first taste of Páthos last June when the quartet opened their Download Pilot set with It Dwells. The gig held a special significance for Brady, as it took place just two days before his wedding, and was the first time his fiancée saw him onstage. 

“I was like, ‘You know me better than anyone else in the world, but you’ve never seen this side of me before,’” he reflects, with a smile. “So she had two days to leave me before the wedding, which was nice.” 

Less pleasant are the circumstances behind Conjurer’s move to Nuclear Blast, the label that Machine Head, Nightwish and Sabaton also call home. In early September 2020, in a series of harrowing social media posts, multiple women accused Holy Roar founder Alex Fitzpatrick of sexual abuse – allegations he’s denied, and no charges have been brought. A mass exodus of artists from the roster swiftly followed, with Ithaca, Rolo Tomassi and Svalbard issuing public statements announcing their departure. Conjurer were more tight-lipped, quietly jumping ship to their new home, with whom they’d already secured a US distribution deal. 

“Alex [Fitzpatrick] said that he was taking legal action and that he was going to defend himself,” Brady explains. “Ultimately, if he decides to do that, anything we say can, and will, be used against the women accusing him: the survivors in this situation. If you go out and say, ‘Fuck Holy Roar! We’re leaving!’, Alex could use that as proof of defamation and loss of income.” 

For Conjurer, brighter days await. Following the release of Páthos, the band will resume their busy touring schedule with a summer festival run that includes a slot at Hellfest, plus Radar and ArcTanGent in the UK. Asked if Conjurer have any longer-term goals they haven’t yet ticked off the bucket list, Brady responds, “There’s never any manifesto or roadmap as to what we’re gonna do”, before stating a personal ambition to tour with Converge and Gojira. 

At Hammer’s bidding, he then gamely casts his mind far, far, far, further into the future, when asked to envisage the final chapter of his engaging life story. “I would like to die in some kind of mauling,” he muses. “Break into a zoo, get mauled by a tiger, traumatise a bunch of schoolkids.” You read it here first, folks. Brady Deeprose is going to go out as he lived: in the most metal way possible.

Metal Hammer line break

Matt Mills
Contributing Editor, Metal Hammer

Louder’s resident Gojira obsessive was still at uni when he joined the team in 2017. Since then, Matt’s become a regular in Prog and Metal Hammer, at his happiest when interviewing the most forward-thinking artists heavy music can muster. He’s got bylines in The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Guitar and many others, too. When he’s not writing, you’ll probably find him skydiving, scuba diving or coasteering.