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Pijn & Conjurer
Curse These Metal Hands Tom Coles , August 27th, 2019 07:12

A collaboration between metal bands Pijn and Conjurer is less about wild sonic experimentation and more about the camaraderie of watching Peep Show together, finds Tom Coles

Heavy metal is starting to come around to collaborations. In recent years there's been some notable entries: the chopped-and-screwed Full of Hell / The Body project, the primal thunder of Slomatics / Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, and then Ulver / Sunn O))), a record which sounds like the ambient music in hell. All of these forced the individual bands, each one either a master of the form or fearless noise tinkerer, to push themselves harder and further.

Which brings us to Curse These Metal Hands, which takes a less dramatic approach. Over four sprawling tracks, the record showcases anthemic metal that cycles quickly through ideas and riffs whilst maintaining a triumphant tone. Although there's not a lot in the way of structure, there's vigour in every twinkling note, every thunderous tom roll, and every hearty bellow.

Metal Hands is softer than either band's usual aesthetic, taking a brighter, busier path. They're clearly comfortable in heavier moments. There's a lot of weight to the record, and it's all got shape and personality. Much of the mass lies in the angular riffs. The record isn't afraid to try some tropier metal elements, but always with a twist. Screams sit neatly over tight, clean melodies, and a ferocious blastbeat in 'High Spirits' is used to propel the summery vibes of the record rather than to cast a frightful, dour pallor.

The album sounds undeniably like Baroness and Mastodon, wearing its influences –sometimes – a little too nakedly. 'Endeavour' in particular recalls the dominating Mother Puncher riff and there's more than a little of John Baizely's floral guitar work in between their thunderous sections. One upside is that neither of these bands really sound like their seminal work anymore, so anyone unnerved by the weird production of Gold & Grey will find much to like here.

Mainly though, the record sounds authentically like two groups of friends making heavy, vital music together. Metal hands is named after a Peep Show joke, and there's nothing more wholesome than a group of metalheads writing an album together with that sitcom in the background, pausing at the good Superhans moments.

Metal Hands is lovely, rich, warm, lush, dynamic, active and sprightly. To take a wider view, it shows an alternative path for collab records in the future focussing less on wild experimentation and more on celebrating camaraderie. But for now, this is the most colourful, joyous summer record metal has produced in years.