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Rating:
5.8
The Conjuration - Surreal
25 March 2014


01. Profane
02. Capricorn
03. Kaleidoscopic Thought
04. Fragile
05. Surreal
06. Perception Shattered: A Darker Scope
07. Introvert
08. Overdose
09. F(r)iend [In Flames cover]


Writhing madness and a morbid fascination for jerking the listener around with savagely nonsensical song structures. It's all so Surreal.

You could call it death metal. Or perhaps "death of a madman after suffering from years of physical abuse and finally meeting his demise as the result of a fatal brain haemorrhage metal," to be more precise.

Describing some of this madness for you is much like nailing jelly to a wall. Probably futile in the end, but you might wind up enjoying a sickly sweet and tantalising treat. Providing you're willing to lick the walls.

Aaaaanyway, while you're doing that though; some sort of assessment of the Surreal would be a good idea, rather than subjecting you to my inane rambling. Structurally, this is a death metal album. The avant-garde bent to this record warps the guitar patterns completely out of proportion and generic locus, and lays down broken, jagged and jarring lines littered with uncompromising twists and turns with unnerving intentions. In goes death metal, out comes a smattering of technical flurries, more directly heavy segments and misshapen melodies unsuccessfully placated by piano teases and all manner of unexpected elements from accordion to symphonic bombast and punk driven aggression.

Coherence is fleeting.

The vocal arrangements are either tortured and dementedly shouted cleans, with all the madness failing to disguise their likely deliberately amateurish delivery, or a more commendable and harsher alternative which bolster the bulkier bits and serve as the most obvious element that manages to maintain any sense and stable connection to what would otherwise be, under "normal" circumstances, death metal.

The imperative is to compartmentalise death metal, whether of the technical, melodic or meatier kind, and then decompartmentalise things into tunes of rarely afforded comfort with the addition of abstrusely bizarre incorporations that place a demand on the listener's sanity as much as their attentiveness. The instrumentation as a bulk is alarmingly forward in the mix, the rhythms given a penetrative directness and shifts in tempo come without warning and render the listener either speechless or prone to incoherent babbling. There are certainly many ways in which one could describe this as a metallic mess, yet there is method in the madness, discernible enough for the listener to follow movement, even if they are constantly beleaguered by absolutely horrid song structures. But then, that's clearly the aim.

Over the ten minute course of "Overdose," amongst all its peculiar additives, some structure decides to set itself in, allowing for segments resembling linear progression and accessibility; how generous. For most of the albums duration, however, you'll have to come to it, it won't come to you, as is evidenced in name and sound by "Introvert." The closing cover of "F(r)iend" by In Flames is by far the most readily comprehensible sequence, some small comfort to close things up.

Simply put, this is weird. Deliberately so. It's an anthemic album, if you're profusely insane.

Performance: 5
Songwriting: 6
Originality: 9
Production: 7


 



Written on 23.07.2014 by
R'Vannith
R'Vannith enjoys music, he's hoping you do too.
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mz - 23.07.2014 at 11:39  
I need to recheck this, but it sure was not as bad as review suggests when I checked it. Chaotic, yes but not a mess.
This disagreement might be partly because I'm an slut for crazy, out of the box DM, though.
R'Vannith - 23.07.2014 at 14:25  
Written by mz on 23.07.2014 at 11:39

I need to recheck this, but it sure was not as bad as review suggests when I checked it. Chaotic, yes but not a mess.
This disagreement might be partly because I'm an slut for crazy, out of the box DM, though.


There's a fine line between controlled chaos and a mess. This is definitely out of the box that's for sure, and ambitiously so considering its all the one guy, but it mostly lacks some kind of coherent structure to entice me to return to listening to it. Perhaps that's the reason also that you haven't felt inclined to give it repeated listens.
mz - 23.07.2014 at 17:09  
Written by R'Vannith on 23.07.2014 at 14:25


There's a fine line between controlled chaos and a mess. This is definitely out of the box that's for sure, and ambitiously so considering its all the one guy, but it mostly lacks some kind of coherent structure to entice me to return to listening to it. Perhaps that's the reason also that you haven't felt inclined to give it repeated listens.

I checked this just now (except for the last two tracks). I can say that I really love this record. It's what I'd imagine King Crimson ft System of a Down will produce if they went death metal. Some sections are ridiculously catchy. As someone who does not have interest in melodeath because of the sheer genericness, it is of great pleasure for me to listen to melodic section of this record. On the top of everything, it is seriously fun ride.
Also, I do think that you have exaggerated about the craziness of this record. It's not that twisted.
Anyway, good to see this guy received a review. Fortunately, more people will be exposed to his music.
LeKiwi - 23.07.2014 at 23:56  
Written by mz on 23.07.2014 at 17:09

Anyway, good to see this guy received a review. Fortunately, more people will be exposed to his music.

^ this.
Rupert - 24.07.2014 at 01:40  
I disagree with your performance rating (technically the instrumentation is executed quite well), but thanks for introducing me to a new weird one!
R'Vannith - 24.07.2014 at 03:26  
Written by mz on 23.07.2014 at 17:09

Written by R'Vannith on 23.07.2014 at 14:25


There's a fine line between controlled chaos and a mess. This is definitely out of the box that's for sure, and ambitiously so considering its all the one guy, but it mostly lacks some kind of coherent structure to entice me to return to listening to it. Perhaps that's the reason also that you haven't felt inclined to give it repeated listens.

I checked this just now (except for the last two tracks). I can say that I really love this record. It's what I'd imagine King Crimson ft System of a Down will produce if they went death metal. Some sections are ridiculously catchy. As someone who does not have interest in melodeath because of the sheer genericness, it is of great pleasure for me to listen to melodic section of this record. On the top of everything, it is seriously fun ride.
Also, I do think that you have exaggerated about the craziness of this record. It's not that twisted.
Anyway, good to see this guy received a review. Fortunately, more people will be exposed to his music.

I can understand you point of view, it's certainly not a generic piece of metal in any sense of the term. Personally there are very few moments I would describe as "catchy," and accessibility to all this seems very minimal to me. But I think that was the intention anyway, to make something deliberately wacky that doesn't abide by the usual standards of death metal. Wacky music for wacky listeners, I suppose.
R'Vannith - 24.07.2014 at 03:31  
Written by Rupert on 24.07.2014 at 01:40

I disagree with your performance rating (technically the instrumentation is executed quite well), but thanks for introducing me to a new weird one!


I'd agree that the instrumentation is generally well performed, but when it's delivered in song structures that make little sense and are a largely incoherent amalgamation of death metal bits and chunks it makes it difficult to appreciate any quality in the delivery. Frankly those clean vocals and spoken word bits are terrible, oddly though I think that was intentional, as they certainly grab the attention when listening. From my perspective that's to a fault though.
TheConjuration - 24.07.2014 at 06:32  
Thanks guys for giving my newest album a chance! I don't really find what I make to be as "out there" as other people say, but I somehow take it as a compliment.

As for the cleans and whatnot...I know my voice isn't exactly the best, so I tend to use it as something akin to playing an out-of-tune guitar. I know it's not for everyone, but it gets the point across that music is my therapy.
barnesy - 24.07.2014 at 07:42  
I just purchased The Human Condition and Surreal off of Bandcamp and I dig both albums. They're a good break from the norm- completely original. I'm a fan.
TheConjuration - 24.07.2014 at 07:57  
I thoroughly appreciate any and all support! I'm also taking all critiques to heart as I write the next TC album.
theFIST - 24.07.2014 at 13:50  
Written by TheConjuration on 24.07.2014 at 07:57

I thoroughly appreciate any and all support!

brilliant album, immediately got me from the first song on
also makes me miss infernal poetry much less

not a major fan of the clean vocals though

downloaded free due to not having paypal, but if you post a bitcoin or darkcoin address i"d enjoy tipping you
R'Vannith - 24.07.2014 at 14:30  
Written by TheConjuration on 24.07.2014 at 06:32

Thanks guys for giving my newest album a chance! I don't really find what I make to be as "out there" as other people say, but I somehow take it as a compliment.


Describing your music as "out there" is intended as a compliment, it's certainly irregular and unusual. Thanks for posting some comments, it's nice to hear some feedback from the musician in question, and hopefully some of what I said can help you to improve things for the next album.
MetalDoomMaster - 24.07.2014 at 16:59  
Yeah, I agree with mz on this one, the album doesn't really seem like a mess. It is kinda chaotic but for the most part, the album is very coherent and entertaining. A fun listen indeed. I think the review would have been better off without the ratings system, since the review for the most part is pretty good, but with this music, people have a lot different tastes and should take from it what they want without being turned off by the low rating.
Apothecary - 24.07.2014 at 18:28  
Sounds like something right up my alley, if it isn't too sloppy and incoherent. Potential contender for my list?
mz - 24.07.2014 at 19:22  
Written by Apothecary on 24.07.2014 at 18:28

Potential contender for my list?

yes
Diverge - 25.07.2014 at 04:04  
I was intrigued about this review, so I gave it a listen. I have to say that I agree almost 100% with your assessment of this record. You nailed it yet again, my friend. Thanks for the great review!
R'Vannith - 25.07.2014 at 09:18  
Written by MetalDoomMaster on 24.07.2014 at 16:59

Yeah, I agree with mz on this one, the album doesn't really seem like a mess. It is kinda chaotic but for the most part, the album is very coherent and entertaining. A fun listen indeed. I think the review would have been better off without the ratings system, since the review for the most part is pretty good, but with this music, people have a lot different tastes and should take from it what they want without being turned off by the low rating.


From my perspective "very coherent" isn't a description I could apply to this, I'd use those words in relation to something much easier on the ears and well structured than this album is. To be honest I'm content with the ratings I've given this, but I do see your point. The intention though is not to throw people off listening to it, but to indicate my judgement of the quality of the album, as much as it can be summed up in a few numbers. Hopefully my words successfully expounded upon those.
R'Vannith - 25.07.2014 at 09:21  
Written by Diverge on 25.07.2014 at 04:04

I was intrigued about this review, so I gave it a listen. I have to say that I agree almost 100% with your assessment of this record. You nailed it yet again, my friend. Thanks for the great review!


Thanks Diverge, I'm assuming that some of your agreement wasn't with the first bit of the review. That'd be pretty unexpected.
TheConjuration - 25.07.2014 at 11:10  
I do enjoy and appreciate the feedback...for the next album, I'm hiring someone else for mixing purposes (a little less treble and more punch) and I'm eliminating cleans. I can't say the (lack of) song structure will change. One of my biggest influences is Unexpect, and I find it much more "my speed" to deviate from songwriting convention. I will, however, attempt to make the transitions a bit smoother and a tad easier to process on upcoming releases.

Thank you for in-depth analysis instead of just writing my music off as "Oh, dis fuckin' sux yo where's teh breakdownz". Metal Storm has a friend in me. \m/
Diverge - 26.07.2014 at 07:46  
Written by R'Vannith on 25.07.2014 at 09:21

Written by Diverge on 25.07.2014 at 04:04

I was intrigued about this review, so I gave it a listen. I have to say that I agree almost 100% with your assessment of this record. You nailed it yet again, my friend. Thanks for the great review!


Thanks Diverge, I'm assuming that some of your agreement wasn't with the first bit of the review. That'd be pretty unexpected.

Haha you are correct in that regard. But I would say that I acknowledge and feel the same pain you feel trying to listen to this. I don't really see much promise if I had to be honest, but maybe he'll find a better formula next time around.
R'Vannith - 26.07.2014 at 07:51  
Written by Diverge on 26.07.2014 at 07:46

Haha you are correct in that regard. But I would say that I acknowledge and feel the same pain you feel trying to listen to this. I don't really see much promise if I had to be honest, but maybe he'll find a better formula next time around.


I think his mentioning of making the transitions smoother sounds promising (he said as much in his latest comment up there ^). But yeah, sounds like there's definitely room for improvement, and I think he can make good on his word. He's a competent musician as far as I can tell.
Diverge - 26.07.2014 at 07:58  
Written by R'Vannith on 26.07.2014 at 07:51

Written by Diverge on 26.07.2014 at 07:46

Haha you are correct in that regard. But I would say that I acknowledge and feel the same pain you feel trying to listen to this. I don't really see much promise if I had to be honest, but maybe he'll find a better formula next time around.


I think his mentioning of making the transitions smoother sounds promising (he said as much in his latest comment up there ^). But yeah, sounds like there's definitely room for improvement, and I think he can make good on his word. He's a competent musician as far as I can tell.

Yep, it definitely sounds like he's acknowledging some of the criticisms people have formulated, which is nice. He certainly has some chops, but most of the flaws seem to be composition-based, and that's not the easiest thing to correct in the world. I think it's promising that his main influence is Unexpect, actually. Unexpect spend a great deal of time thinking about their compositions and getting them tight; they truly are a case study of how to write great complicated music. Hopefully he'll make good on his word; in my opinion, that'll involve a fundamental improvement to just about everything he tried here.
TheConjuration - 26.07.2014 at 12:20  
We'll see what happens when the next album rolls around next year.
TheConjuration - 26.07.2014 at 12:30  
Also, Mr. Diverge sir, whether I have "promise" or not, I'll try my hardest to deliver my amazing fans a quality listening experience (something they'll love and have hopefully never heard before). I know I'm taking up 40-something minutes of their lives that they won't get back, so I'll try much harder this time around to make it count. I hope I can count on your confidence and good tidings.

Peace, love, and metal. \m/

Corey Jason

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