The Contortionist is a band that has gone through a few major changes since their beginning in 2007. Their biggest change being what they sound like. Back on their first EP, Shapeshifter, the band sounded like a Deathcore group. But in those 7 years, 1 EP and 3 albums later; The Contortionist has flourished into a modern day Progressive Metal band. Old fans of the band will always love the debut album, Exoplanet, the most and do not like the change in sound for the band. But newer fans of the band and those who can appreciate a band trying to spread their wings and explore their creativity will find things to appreciate on their second album, Intrinsic and now, Language. 3 almost major changes in the band is in the new lineup. The Contortionist now features 3 new members consisting of new frontman Michael Lessard (also of Last Chance To Reason), full time keyboardist Eric Guenther, and new bassist Jordan Eberhardt (Formerly of Scale The Summit). Language is a continuation of stepping away from the Deathcore sound and showcasing the broader aspects of Progressive Metal. If you haven't heard the album yet, here is what Language is all about.
The album opens with The Source, which may be one of the most soothing openings to a Metal album in recent times. The intro mainly showcases piano, synths and Lessard's soothing vocals. Light acoustic guitars also are featured lightly in the background. It feels very much like a New Age song. Very soothing and beautiful beyond words. This quickly changes when the song transitions into Language I: Intuition. This was the first single from the album and a brilliant choice for a single. The song starts off mellow with clean guitar and synths and then transitions itself heavier with the inclusion of the rest of the band. Lessard shows off his great clean vocal approach while also beginning to show his growls and screams in the right spots. Overall, while the first part of this two part song is quite mellow, it does feature it's share of heavy moments near the end before exploding into Language II: Conspire. The second half of the song Language starts off with what sounds like a very cool off time drumbeat by Joey Baca and continues being very heavy. It has it's share of clean, beautiful moments as well. The ending of the song Language may be one of the most beautiful moments in Metal in 2014. Integration is the next song and starts off once again with some very spacy synth sounds before launching into a nice, Cynic influenced, riff. The song is a quaint, mellow song overall, even with its distorted guitars and odd time signatures. But near the end it gets nice and heavy again with screams and Exoplanet style riffing. Thrive is up next and it is easily the overall heaviest song on the album. With the exception of the middle section, which is in 9/8 and features a bass solo by Eberhardt (his only contribution to the album before joining), the song is just heavy from start to finish. Very fast and upbeat with lots of time signature changes. It's easily one of the best tracks on the album. Primordial Sound is one of the more mellow songs on the album, but it features such a great musical soundscape. It is perfect from start to finish. While there isn't too many heavy moments on this song, except near the middle, it flows together so well. Arise is right up there with Thrive as the heaviest song. The song absolutely showcases Robby Baca and Cameron Maynard's exceptional guitar work. It also features one of the only uses of blast beats on the entire album. The next song up is Ebb & Flow. Unless you count Language I and II as one song, this is the longest song on the album. This once again showcases a huge Cynic inspired Progressive Metal sound. It once again is one of the best songs on the album. Joey Baca showcases his amazingly dynamic drumming on this song flawlessly. The ending to Ebb & Flow is the biggest highlight of the entire album without question, so heavy, so beautiful, so perfect. The perfect...Ebb & Flow. The album ends with The Parable. This song is a great blend of mellow, intricate, heavy, and catchy. In a way, it's the entire album of Language fit into one song and the perfect way to close the album.
All in All Language is a perfect album for fans of Prog Metal. Again, old school fans of The Contortionist will have a hard time digesting this album because it's not "Brutal," but the fans who care enough will see Language and enjoy every second of it. It's an easy contender for 'Feel Good Metal Album Of 2014'. While treading on the subject of Language as a whole, it does feel like a concept album about the use of Language in life. Just imagine where you'd be in life without Language, both the vocation and the album. Now go support The Contortionist in any way you can (and Last Chance To Reason as well!)
The Contortionist- Language available NOW via eOne/Goodfight Music
- Josh Rundquist (That Drummer Guy)