For starters I'm not a deathcore fan by any means, I like the odd bands like Born
of Osiris but to be honest I find most of it bland, uninspired, boring, and just simply pretentious. Although despite all of this I occasionally find the odd gem. The Contortionist
are one of these bands. Although they are affiliated with the much maligned deathcore scene The Contortionist
sound leagues ahead of most of the scene. For starters they have a heavy progressive influence incorporated into their sound. Although most people would scoff at the idea of intelligent and forward thinking deathcore, The Contortionist
pull it off really well. The progressive elements are what make this album what it is; a masterpiece.
cannot simply be labelled as just deathcore they incorporate a variety of elements into their sound just as post-rock. At times in the album it actually sounds like a sludge metal/post-rock band had a go at playing deathcore. This gives the album a very unique feel to it and it certainly makes it more enjoyable. Although the contrast between "dark" and "light" can get a bit formulaic the calm bits are so brilliantly done that I don't care if it's a little predictable.
The riffs aren't what one would expect from deathcore, for starters a lot of the music is composed of djent riffs. Now the djent sound is something I've grown really fond of over time and I couldn't wait to hear how The Contortionist
pulled it off. Fortunately my expectations we're met and possible surpassed as The Contortionist
match the standard of djent bands such as Periphery
. Also the riffs are surprisingly technical, "Flourish" is a full blown technical metal song that features some of the best riffs on the album. The breakdowns, now for the most part I simply can't stand breakdowns I often find that they wreck what momentum the song had going from it. However The Contortionist
are one of the only bands that can not only pull off breakdowns but actually make them interesting and brutal. I also like the fact that the breakdowns are quite scarce within the album, this keeps the flow of the songs going and stops the momentum from being killed off.
The vocals are very good. The vocalist uses a very good growl and a very aggressive high pitched scream. I also really like the absence of pig squeals. Although I have nothing particularly against this vocal style I find that very few bands can actually pull it off. Heinous Killings
are some of the only bands that can. Aside from the harsh vocals utilized some clean vocals are interwoven in the mix. Now for the most part I don't particularly like clean vocals at all I think that pretty much a lot of clean vocals in metal don't sound right at all. They either sound whiny and pretentious or are just simply horrendous. The only bands (in my opinion) that can pull off clean vocals are power metal acts such as Sonata Arctica
and Blind Guardian
, female fronted bands such as Nightwish
and Leave's eyes and post-metal/metalgaze bands such as Alcest
. Fortunately The Contortionist
are able to pull if off and they actually sound really good.
The bass was fairly inaudible under the mix and to be honest I really wasn't paying much attention to it. Drums are quite good actually, they have a very competent drummer who throws in some nice techniques in there. I was particularly impressed by the lyrical content present on this album. Unlike the whole "personal problems" theme that dominates much of the metalcore and deathcore scene, The Contortionist
uses science fiction themes akin to The Faceless
and Rings of Saturn. Although lyrics aren't necessarily the most important aspect of an album I found them to be quite intelligent, well written and really refreshing.
So in conclusion if you're looking for some forward thinking deathcore that isn't afraid to break past the norm then The Contortionist
is for you. Though I'm sure many metal heads will pass this band by, due to their affiliation with the deathcore scene I urge any open minded metal head to listen to this album as it proves that deathcore can actually be unique, original and thoroughly enjoyable. This is hands down the best core album I've ever listened to and is one of the best albums in general, I've listened to(Sacramentum
wins the award for my best album with Far
Away from the Sun). I'd also like to point out that the cover art is absolutely brilliant and is just as good as the artwork for Augury
's debut album Concealed(brilliant album by the way).