The Contortionist - Exoplanet

11 songs
48:04 minutes
***** *****
Good Fight


American mathcore band The Contortionist couldn’t have chosen a more fitting name. Like Olympic gymnasts, the quintet from Indianapolis is doing incredible musical feats involving strange scales, rhythms and finger acrobatics on its first longplayer Exoplanet.

The opener Primal Directive starts with ferocious breakdowns just to evolve some time later into totally cranky chaos without ever losing its thread. The following Flourish adds even more confusion with its darker and more desperate and threatening mood. The way the growls and melodic vocals are happening at once seems quite unparalleled. The musicians are not only full of ideas, but also master their instruments perfectly. The album contains a lot of instrumental passages that very often sound surprisingly quiet. Especially the jazz parts on Exoplanet I: Egress should leave every demanding metal fan speechless. A similar approach has been noticed with bands like Dillinger Escape Plan, Meshuggah and Between The Buried And Me, but The Contortionist have enough originality to prevent them from being labelled a clone. Some tracks are so full of ideas and breaks that every time you listen to them you will discover new nuances that you missed the time before. There’s even room for some fun, as on Contact whose vocal effects give it a certain disco touch. Maybe some will accuse The Contortionist of sounding too cerebral, but it’s exactly this complexity that makes their music so endearing and utterly progressive.

The Contortionist are among those bands that are undeniably influenced by established artists but who are also smart enough to end up doing their own thing. Exoplanet is one of the best mathcore albums that I have ever come across, and anything less than the maximum rating would be a slap in the face of this incredibly talented young band.

Back to Reviews