The Contortionist


Written by: AP on 20/12/2010 19:11:49

Ever find yourself lamenting Between the Buried and Me for abandoning the chug and stepping up to become one of the most inventive bands in the world? Neither did I, but The Contortionist did, and, out of frustration, penned a space age deathcore album under the moniker "Exoplanet". Imagine the otherworldly ethos of The Faceless melting into the aggressive dissonance of The Acacia Strain, moving to the beat of the mighty Meshuggah, and swaggering with the jazz infusions and vocoder ramblings of Cynic - this is the warped sound of "Exoplanet"; the sound of progressive megalomania challenging the very fundaments of the deathcore genre.

Just as forward-thinking as "The Silent Circus" and "Alaska", it is deathcore with a thinking hat, shuffling intricate guitar noodling, expansive instrumental sections, 'shuggah timing and exorbitant brutality from a deck of influences as spectral as their soundscape. As such, it has the capacity to be at times violently threatening, at times cinematically uplifting, incorporating everything that makes metal such a delight for the ears into one beast of a concept album. "Exoplanet" is as technical as it is brutal; as melodic as it is emotional; and as cathartic as it is suffocating; exposing beauty in chaos as seamlessly as orchestrating control where there seems to be none. Indeed, what separates The Contorionist from most other practitioners of the genre is their ability to harness their schizophrenia, so that as abrupt as the shifts in tempo and style may at times sound, control is never lost. The countless instances of stark contrast are executed with the kind of mastery that can be achieved only through meticulous study of Between the Buried and Me's repertoire.

The regrettable result of this is, however, that The Contortionist will always be viewed as the apprentice in this regard no matter their ability. "Exoplanet" is a remarkable album, but because the band restrain themselves from being as wildly experimental as their mentors, the result is not as bewildering as, say, "Colours". On the other hand, any comparison to Between the Buried and Me is likely to shrivel a band's testies and such a reference may not be entirely fair, nevermind how similar the sound of "Exoplanet" is. The difference in age and experience, too, explains why The Contortionist arguably sound like the less able little brother here, so I shall not pursue the thread any further. What's important is that "Exoplanet" is the kind of album that has the capacity to eclipse an entire genre; so daring in its experiments, so original, and so ripe with technical galore that it, too, shrivels the testies of other deathcore bands.


Download: Primal Directive, Advent, Oscillator, Exoplanet I, II, III
For the fans of: The Acacia Strain, Between the Buried and Me, The Faceless
Listen: Myspace

Release date 18.10.2010
Good Fight Music

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