Written by: AP on 27/06/2013 19:57:40

Contrition first emerged on my radar back in 2011, when the band had landed a coveted performance at Vega in Copenhagen in support of the meteoric Siamese Fighting Fish. Though somewhat out of place on a more mainstream rock oriented line-up, the quintet were able to demonstrate songwriting prowess of an international quality, and I made a mental note to track their heels on their quest for more widespread recognition. With this debut album "Reflections", the promise showcased in that show seems fulfilled at last in what might well be one of the tightest metal eggs Denmark has ever laid.

In terms of genre, most people opt to dub Contrition a metalcore band - something they and their fans are loathe to agree with. But while such influence is certainly prominent across the 10 songs that comprise the effort, much emphasis has also been placed on distancing the band's sound from the polished and generally trite works of their stateside colleagues. There are songs here, such as the brilliant "Sensory Perception" and "Timeless", that infuse heavy amounts of Gojira-esque instrumental characteristics into the more traditional chug and staccato style riffing that Gothenburg birthed almost 20 years ago, whilst atmospherically the album rests firmly veiled in darkness, bringing to mind a slightly less technical take on Sylosis, and closer to home, New Discolour. Alert listeners will also make note of the subtle undercurrent of Lamb of God musing, particularly in the rhythmic foundation. As such, a more appropriate term to describe the music of Contrition might perhaps be progressive metalcore.

But above all, it is the impression that despite the wealth of detail packed into each of the songs all of the band's ideas have been shaped to perfection that results in an album that feels exceptionally tight and consistent at every turn. Whether it be the fluctuating dynamics and burning intensity of opening track "In Distant Lights", the thick groove and roaring chorus in "[Al-kuh-hawl]", the sheer weight and enormity of "Surrogate", or the progressive grandeur and wedding of light and dark in "Sunset Burns", the end result is eminent - with the somewhat inconsistent and, at times nondescript clean vocals of Nico Paidar (although it must be said that his pipes sound very powerful on the aforementioned "Sunset Burns") and the grating rapping in "Chaos Reigns" providing the only real lapses in quality.

With "Reflections", it seems that Contrition have expertly avoided the common pitfalls of Danish metal by writing music that shatters genre conventions, whilst still boasting enough hooks and pit-catering moments to remain thoroughly and consistently memorable. This is an album that should, and probably will establish Contrition as the flagbearers of the metalcore genre in Denmark, and catapult them into foreign spotlights as well. Certainly it is one of the better metal albums to have emerged from Danish soil in recent years, thanks in no small part to Contrition's burning desire to experiment and push the boundaries of the genre.


Download: In Distant Lights, Sensory Perception, Surrogate, Timeless
For the fans of: Gojira, Lamb of God, New Discolour, Sylosis
Listen: Facebook

Release date 21.05.2013
Mighty Music / Target Distribution

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