The Contortionist is a band for deathcore fans that are tired of the traditional deathcore sound put out by Suicide Silence, Whitechapel, and Carnifex. There have been some other somewhat “progressive” deathcore bands that have been rising out of the crypts like Winds of Plague, Born of Osiris, and Veil of Maya; but none have been nearly as progressive and experimental as The Contortionist. If you think that these guys have always been progressive, listen to their earlier demos and EPs because they sound like pure deathcore. Even though I was especially impressed by their Apparition EP, their debut full length Exoplanet proves to be far more impressive and mature. Don’t get me wrong, deathcore can sound extremely mature, but it can also sound kind of premature, especially when it’s compared to a band’s latter release that has more of a practiced and confident sound.
Of course anyone can listen to this album and hear deathcore. But there are tons of other recognizable and unrecognizable sounds that The Contortionist decide to throw in. For some reason I keep hearing Oceano peeking their head out here and there. What I mean by that is that some of the breakdowns have that really spooky mystical sound where there’s no muting of the guitars and a slow ambient lead guitar riff perfectly laid on top. Probably the most unique thing about this record is that there are soft progressive rock sounds with singing. Depending on how you look at it, it kind of seems like the modernized-deathcore version of Opeth.
Most of the songs give off the same vibe. The bad part about that is that…well…it shows a slight lack of creativity (although not always). The good part about that is that the vibe those songs give out is amazing and never gets old! When I saw these guys open for Periphery, the crowd was absolutely nuts with me right in the middle of all the action that was going on (primarily in the pit). Watching them perform a flawless 20-minute set with my own eyes and ears proved to me that they truly have what it takes to become huge.
Although I have them listed in my library as “progressive death”, I never use that description when verbally describing them to someone else. I always describe them as “progressive deathcore.” And I know that a lot of you don’t give a crap about all the different genres and whatnot; and be aware that I’m not someone that thinks less of a band if they don’t stay within the walls of a certain genre. I prefer that rather than completely stepping outside the walls of a genre, that bands push and further expand the realms of a genre like The Contortionist has done.
I’m not going to spend too much time describing individual songs because I’m sure to unintentionally leave something out if I do. If Opeth went deathcore, this is most likely what they would sound like. And I would be sad if Opeth did, because they’re perfect where they are; but I’m very glad that finally there is a band that is doing this! Not only is The Contortionist the most experimental and progressive deathcore band out there, they do the best job at it too. I have my physical copy of this album coming in the mail as we speak. Hopefully you can say that too sometime in the very near future. I would give this album 17/20.