Tuesday, 22 March 2016

The Contortionist "Language" (2014)


What I remember of American Metal band "The Contortionist" is a Deathcore group trying to push the genres "heaviness" with tinges of Djent and Technical Death Metal. That sound is a distant memory with the band bringing a keyboard player into the lineup and replacing their vocalist with Michael Lessard who has a fine singing voice outside of the rugged screams and growls. Going in a new, progressive direction "Language" steps into a world of color and melody, an illumination of inspiration.

Flowing organically these songs drift through a free form of momentum that unravels in its own direction, shifting, amplifying and switching tune at many points. Drawn between two forces we are graciously swooned by the sunny and delicate passages of temperate drum grooves, soft distortion chords, serene synthesizers and Lessard's tender tone. In turn, force and aggression emerges from within as instances of instrumental intensity amplifies, their focus turning to aggression and Lessard curling throaty grows and snarls over the emergent change of mood.

Most of the records charm comes from this shifting between sides both in tone and texture. Its as if all instruments have a dial and a puppet master turns them. The guitars can lavish with warm distortion and fire up with rhythmic djents. The synthesizers often taken the more subtle approach also intensifying their potency with volume and depth. Through the course of these songs many balance shifts occur and its as if many combination and ideas are explored through inspiration.

On first listen this could feel like progressive for progressive's sake but with each listen you chip away at the framework, understanding its cause and purpose piece by piece. As I write this now its time to move through my playlist but I feel there is more to discover. A break will undoubtedly reveal more. On a final note this record is lush, smooth with its lighter, harmonious side. Its a little coarse and brash with its heavier distortions, something that could be dispelling at times. It sounds bright and clear from a technical perspective. Well worth picking up if your a Progressive Metal fan.

Favorite Songs: Integration, Ebb & Flow
Rating: 7/10

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