Into the Breath of Cold: A Look Into Local Heavy Metal Band Konjur
By Eli Duncan-High
In a quiet neighborhood in Alexandria, a neighborhood that has at least 5 churches and 3 schools within half a mile on a single road, resides a group of 4 individuals that stand out from the much older and much younger generations that live in the area. This group wears dark clothing, enjoys headbanging to loud music, and makes HEAVY METAL MUSIC. These individuals, who serenade the neighborhood with their heavy music, are the big, charismatic front man Joseph Fields; the dark, curly haired guitarist Shade; the fashionable bassist Ivana “Skully” Scully; and the fast, hard hitting drummer Matt Royfe. Together, they form the heavy metal band Konjur.
My introduction to the band happened as I was walking my dog around the neighborhood (the same neighborhood they live in). I was wearing my Pearl Jam shirt and as I was walking down the street, I was met by Joseph who was wearing his iconic outfit of boots, jeans, and a black shirt with the Konjur logo in white font. He saw my shirt and asked me if I was into heavy metal. At this point in time, the heavy metal I listened to was Black Sabbath, Ozzy Osbourne, and Evil Has No Boundaries by Slayer (so, essentially, I was on the lighter side of heavy metal). With my limited experience in heavy metal, I said “yes” and with enthusiasm Joseph told me he was in a band and that his band were into heavy metal acts such as Slipknot, Sepultura, and Lamb of God – music acts that were far heavier than what I was listening to. Joseph handed me a business card with the band’s information on it and told me about an upcoming show they were performing at a place called “Moe’s Peyton Place”. As I walked home, I kept thinking about Joseph and this heavy metal band that happened to practice in my neighborhood.
As the day came for the Konjur show, I arrived at Moe’s Peyton Place– a small diner and bar with a unique Ma and Pa type charm to it. Konjur followed the classic formula of the Metalcore and Nu Metal scene of the 2000s. Shade played an incredibly distorted guitar, Skully played a six string bass, and Matt hit the drums like it owed him money all while keeping the tempo with a double kick bass drum. Then you got Joseph’s vocals which are a fusion of deep bellowing and screeching to make a sound like a Viking singing a heavy metal battle song (he also happens to look the part). The concert took place in a separate room with about 10-15 people in attendance who Joseph and the other members greeted with excitement and love. One of the attendees was a man dressed as the Joker who barely spoke and live streamed the entire show. The Joker was a regular at the shows and although he barely spoke he somehow knew the band which I thought was one of the coolest things ever. The band kicked off the show with a couple of covers from iconic metal bands such as Slipknot, Lamb of God, System of a Down, and Papa Roach while also covering My Hero by Foo Fighters. They then got into their own songs with their first single “Breath of Cold”, a Metalcore song that sprinkles some semi-spoken word, and “Without Lines” which is a Nu Metal/Metalcore song that has the band using a less heavy sound with a catchy riff and showcasing Joseph’s raspy and bellowing voice.
The band was tight with Shade in a power stance headbanging to the riff and Skully walking around the stage with her humongous six string bass. Matt held the band together with his hard-
hitting drum performance, the snare drum feeling like a shockwave, and then Joseph who enjoyed himself with a beer in his hand as he joned the small mosh pit that formed in front of the stage. The band closed the show with Joseph and the band thanking everyone for coming out and helping them achieve their dream of making music for a living while also giving a speech about loving yourself, your friends, and family. He then invited everyone for drinks at the bar. I instantly loved the band and what they were doing.
From then on, I went to as many of their shows as I possibly could. The band continued to play at Moe’s Peyton Place until the bar had to, unfortunately, close permanently. In their final performance at that location, and in front of a much larger audience, the band gave Moe’s Peyton Place a proper send off by playing a set that rocked the entire bar and one final drink at the bar after the show (we miss you Moe’s Peyton Place). Even though the band lost their favorite venue to perform at, they didn’t let that stop them from continuing to live their dream. Right after the bar closed the band was performing at The Age of Ruin Festival in Manassas, Virginia. The Age of Ruin Festival featured a variety of metal bands in Virginia. Much like the shows at Moe’s Peyton Place, the band rocked the venue with a sound that bounced around the room like a rubber ball hitting the walls of a gym with a mosh pit to match their heavy sound. After the show the band did their signature closing speech spreading love and gratitude to the audience and stayed after the show to converse with the audience.
As of today, Konjur have released two singles “Breath of Cold”, “Without Lines”. They also have an unreleased single “Trapped/Trapt” (the band hasn’t decided on the spelling yet, but I personally like “Trapt”). “Trapt” is a metalcore song that tests the limits of Joseph’s vocals as he keeps his voice at a high octave but. Thanks to his training as a vocalist and the support of his experienced bandmates, the songs come out perfectly and really showcase the band’s talents at making heavy metal music. The band also has the character and personality to attract and keep an audience which is just as, if not more, important than making a hit single. The band has the passion, the character, and drive to make a name for themselves in the DMV area in addition to collaborating with various artists and keeping their sound fresh by experimenting in different metal genres. Don’t be surprised if they get the opportunity to open for a high-profile band touring in the area.
I want to thank you for reading and remember to KEEP ON HEADBANGING.
You can listen to Konjur’s music on Spotify and you can check out their upcoming shows, album, and music at konjuroffical.com. Any any other updates can be found on their Instagram @konjurofficial. The band has a show on October 29th at Fat Tuesdays (right across the street from Mason) with the show starting at 10:00 PM.