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THE CONTORTIONIST

Tech/Extreme Prog Metal • United States


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The Contortionist biography
Founded in Indianapolis, USA in 2007

THE CONTORTIONIST is a US progressive Deathcore act. The band released a couple of EPs before releasing their debut full-length studio album "Exoplanet" in 2010.

( Biography written by UMUR)

See also: HERE

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The Contortionist - LanguageThe Contortionist - Language
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THE CONTORTIONIST discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE CONTORTIONIST top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.63 | 26 ratings
Exoplanet
2010
3.18 | 22 ratings
Intrinsic
2012
3.76 | 30 ratings
Language
2014
3.99 | 50 ratings
Clairvoyant
2017

THE CONTORTIONIST Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE CONTORTIONIST Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

THE CONTORTIONIST Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

THE CONTORTIONIST Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

1.18 | 3 ratings
Shapeshifter
2008
3.22 | 4 ratings
Apparition
2009

THE CONTORTIONIST Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Clairvoyant by CONTORTIONIST, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.99 | 50 ratings

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Clairvoyant
The Contortionist Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Egyptianprog-Fahmy

4 stars 3.8/5 great vocals, effects, atmosphere (rounded to 4)

At first I had mixed feelings about this. One one hand, The Contortionist completely abandoned djent roots down tuning and extreme metal, while on the other hand, they actually did it atmospherically right. In the end, I came to terms with it and listened to the whole album with a clear open mind and boy was I happy to do so. This album is just sad and intense. From Monochrome, you can feel a cloud of sadness above you, then a flicker a hope from the paino of Godspeed, to more intense metal from Clairvoyant and return to earth and ending with another sad monochrome.

It is unironically one of my favorite The Contortionist albums.

 Language by CONTORTIONIST, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.76 | 30 ratings

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Language
The Contortionist Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Egyptianprog-Fahmy

4 stars 4/5 An excellent album, one that is actually worth instead of intrinsic and a good continuation from exoplanet.

Finally we see a djent album that is actually worth it. the source was a good opening to Language 1 and 2, Language 1 with melody and extreme atmosphere, really hit me hard. While Language 2 surprised me that the Contortionist are actually keeping some of their djent roots. Then songs like Thrive remind me of Expire back in Exoplanet album while Primordial sound is completely new.

This is actually one of the Contortionists best works and should not be missed by any djent fan.

 Intrinsic by CONTORTIONIST, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.18 | 22 ratings

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Intrinsic
The Contortionist Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Egyptianprog-Fahmy

2 stars 2.3/5 overall meh, did not absorb me like exoplanet and did not intrigue me enough with memorable songs. Intrinsic was an attempt from the band to be more melodic than exoplanet. It took a way different approach from the 1st album and as a result was just not as absorbing or memorable as the first one. Sure, the first one lacked overall melody, but was fun to listen to and the deeper metal riffs to calm grooves transition was well worth it and absorbed me into the album. I feel in this album they sacrificed all the pros within the last album, to obtain more melody and more clean vocals.
 Exoplanet by CONTORTIONIST, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.63 | 26 ratings

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Exoplanet
The Contortionist Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Egyptianprog-Fahmy

4 stars The first Album from the Indiana based Djent metal band and ultimately one of their bests. Most of the songs are ultimately brutal,heavy and technical with some soft spots. It almost has the perfect mixture of growling and "softness", but the soft parts needed a boost. The guitars are technical, the bass is dirty and the drums is just "meh". They did take this hint, but their 2nd album "intrinsic" was less technical overall and had too much softness in it, while this album was near perfection in vocals. The best thing in this album was Exoplanet 1-3, intense progression, on point instrumental techniques and that perfect balance with the vocals. My only issue is that the self proclaimed album song series feels very different from the whole album, with way different song structure from the rest of the album. This isn't necessarily negative, but is just mildly interesting. Turns out some songs (Flourish, Primial Directive) and others were already pre written, while Exoplanet and the better songs in general were written recently to the album's release date. Overall this is a solid technical extreme djent album and is a must listen to all fans of progressive metal.
 Clairvoyant by CONTORTIONIST, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.99 | 50 ratings

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Clairvoyant
The Contortionist Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Fenris

2 stars In my opinion the new album from The Contortionist is very far from being progressive rock. It has some odd twist and turns and the song structures are more adventurous than your average pop or heavy rock song. But in terms of melodies, creativity in the instrumentation and the overall commercial and polished mainstream sound it resembles nu metal and post rock more than progressive rock. All the while the songs does some interesting things with time signatures, very often the vocal parts parts come off as pretty plain and straight forward, and a lot of the rhythm guitar feels generic. Like many other bands of today they incorporate progressive elements around what basically are pop songs. The musicianship is very good throughout the record, and the vocalist does a good job in contrasting the heavier guitars with a softer and cleaner expression. But, my main issue with this is that I feel that I've heard this so many times before from other bands.

All in all I'd say that this album and band has the potential to break into a big commercial market, but I would never label it progressive rock or progressive metal.

 Clairvoyant by CONTORTIONIST, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.99 | 50 ratings

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Clairvoyant
The Contortionist Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by ingmin68

5 stars "Clairvoyant" - a great music prog metal work, varying from more intricate parts to ,catchy mellower "songs (almost-pop, in a good term)", to minisuites. Great vocals - similar in approach to Echolyn ones, though maybe with a little less extension. The sound and production quality is top-notch - a highly enjoying listening experience on cloud speakers or earphones The intro of Monochrome with thunderous-heavy drum beat led me to think about a tech/extreme metal (not my cup of tea)...but it's just a good misleading initial trick: from there the music expands and get mellower ...in the vein of Pain of Salvation. Then just transition well into "Godspeed" fast intro - energic and upbeat song. From here on, you've treated with a continuously different set of music, with the catchy "Reimagined" The top-class "Clairvoyant" uses some of Maudlin-of-the-Well-like heavy chords, then evolves again from min.4:00 to a milder section and then brilliant section with great guitar, keyboard and vocal harmonies, full-band feast of great music. All next songs continues to surprise and show off moment of great musical ideas (ex. the intro of Relapse - remind of something from Riverside). I'm just finishing with the ending "Mochorome (pensive)" - a superbmini suite-slow building till the epic final - I do love these pieces...

Recap: no doubt - one the candidates for Best Album of the 2017. "The contortionist" Bravi, indeed!! 5 stars? Maybe on 9/10 would fit better

 Clairvoyant by CONTORTIONIST, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.99 | 50 ratings

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Clairvoyant
The Contortionist Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

5 stars This Indiana-based band has matured and, if truth be known, mellowed over the seven years they've been recording and releasing excellent Metal-oriented heavy Prog albums, but this is their best. They have mastered individual restraint and understated performances in favor of group chemistry, group composition, and seductively gorgeous heavy prog music. Simply stunning.

1. "Monochrome (Passive)" So many creative computer/Hal 9000/synth openings on this album, of which this is the first. As it amps up into heavy guitar and bass distortion it fits! It works. Then the song settles into a softer, almost nujazz groove, with some great guitar and keyboard interaction. I haven't heard this creative and innovative keyboard work in years! (10/10)

2. "Godspeed" (3:14) fast opening and abrasive, settling into great weaves to support Michael Lessard's restrained vocal. Amazing subtle effects and contributions throughout--especially the restrained yet virtuosic guitar work. Michael actually lifts his voice in that last minute just before the guitar does the same. Awesome! (9.5/10)

3. "Reimagined" (3:17) gorgeous heavier song on the KARNIVOOL or VOTUM scale of latently heavy prog. (9/10)

4. "Clairvoyant" (7:37) is the first true metal, djenty song on the album (IMHO)--complete with chorale-styled vocal sections and machine gun bass drum pedal play. Really gorgeous transitions and chorus sections; nothing too difficult or abrasive but all played to group perfection. Also the most diversified and chameleonic song on the album. (9/10)

5. "The Center" (7:34) a smooth, gorgeous song that continues to build while Michael Lessard seduces us with his incongruously sedate vocal. Is he the new Maynard James Keenan? Just brilliant! Reminds me of my favorite song from last year by THE MERCURY TREE. (9.5/10)

6. "Absolve" (5:12) brilliant restraint shown on this vocal despite the yearnings of the music to soar! Makes for a great tension between the two. At 5:05 the song shifts, kind of cuts out, while a spacey, post-esplosion synth- concerto slowly builds and (9.5/10)

7. "Relapse" (6:14) opens as an odd synth experiment with spacey vocal for the first 1:30 before the heavy rock instruments enter. Synth washes and sliding power chords finish off the first half before a piano-based, computer- paced section with Lessard saying "They're clairvoyant." Interesting sliding-tremolo guitar solo in the fifth and sixth minutes. It even gets a little djenty at times. (9/10)

8. "Return to Earth" (6:15) spacious and atmospheric genius that lets loose at the 1:25 into a heavier (though simple) and still gorgeous and inviting prog song. Vocalist Michael Lessard has the silky smooth pipes to keep the listener engaged despite the frenetics of his mates--like a mellower version of LEPROUS. (8.5/10)

9. "Monochrome (Pensive)" (9:24) very nice song that, unfortunately, takes seven and a half minutes to finally soar to the heights one might expect from a nine and a half minute "epic." (9/10)

A five star a masterpiece of gorgeously woven heavy prog. My nominee for Most Improved Band and Best Heavy Prog album of the year--and maybe Most Creative Keyboard Player in Eric Guenther.

 Clairvoyant by CONTORTIONIST, THE album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.99 | 50 ratings

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Clairvoyant
The Contortionist Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Mebert78

5 stars It's fitting The Contortionist's new album is titled Clairvoyant, because I'm going to start this review with a prediction: this band has a bright future ahead. A very bright future. Those of you familiar with the group know this already. But this album was the first I ever purchased by the Indianapolis-based progressive metal band, so they're still pretty new to me. Well, to say that I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. A huge understatement.

Just to provide some background, I first heard of The Contortionist when I saw them open a couple years ago for either Animals as Leaders or Tesseract (I can't remember which band) at Revolution Bar & Music Hall, a 500-person venue on Long Island. They'd impressed me enough to like them on Facebook, and I subsequently enjoyed the music videos from their 2014 album, Language. But, for some reason, I neglected to explore the band any deeper. That will all change with Clairvoyant. Not only has the band mesmerized me with their new nine-track disc, but it's continued to keep me mesmerized for a few weeks now. While that might not seem like a big deal to most people, remember the roster of prog artists that have recently released albums: Caligula's Horse, The Great Discord, Leprous, Steven Wilson and Threshold. Not a bad handful of names. But they've all taken a backseat due to Clairvoyant.

For starters, I must point out that Clairvoyant contains little to no screamed vocals, which is a departure from the band's past sound. The screamlessness became clear when the band shared three tunes online prior to the album's release: "Reimagined," "Absolve" and "Return to Earth." To me, these melodic songs are arguably the disc's catchiest, with "Reimagined" and "Return to Earth" both having captivating videos I viewed dozens of times this summer. There's just something oddly hypnotic about this young group, whether on stage or screen. Of the three tunes, I feel "Return To Earth" is the best of the bunch. It's an absolute beast. I'd even go as far as to say it's my favorite song of the year thus far. Other standout tunes include the rockin' "Godspeed," Deftones-eque "The Center," and brilliantly eerie "Relapse."

As for Clairvoyant in its entirety, it's a haunting journey filled with addictive riffs, atmospheric keyboards and introspective lyrics. Vocalist Michael Lessard shines with his subdued style that reminds me of ex-Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore's singing in Chroma Key and OSI. Lessard has a soft and controlled delivery even in parts where other frontmen might get aggressive, which distinguishes him from his peers in a refreshing way. I can almost feel his zen-like tendencies rubbing off on me as a listener. My only criticism is that I would love to have lyrics in the booklet. The album seems to be about a loved one struggling with drugs, and the words seem so well-crafted that I'd really like to sit and sink my teeth into them.

But the praise doesn't end with Lessard. The whole band shows what they're capable of from "Monochrome (Passive)" to "Monochrome (Pensive)," which beautifully bookend the disc and give it a cohesive feeling. Drummer Joey Baca blew me away with his inventive rhythms that even keep the slower moments moving, while guitarist Robby Baca shows us that he's ready to be mentioned among the genre's best. And, of course, I was must highlight the keyboard wizardry of Eric Guenther, whose perfectly selected sounds add an extra depth to each tune.

The disc flows so well that it's over before you know it, making it feel much shorter than its 54-minute running time. Ironically, it left me wanting more to the point where I immediately ordered the group's previous record, which is their only other release that features Lessard. Regretfully, I missed the band's show last week opening for Between the Buried and Me in Manhattan, but I won't miss any future performances of The Contortionist. That's for sure.

In closing, I'd say The Contortionist have not only released an album of amazing new music with Clairvoyant, they've released a work of art. A meticulously assembled work of art that will leave listeners in appreciation for years to come. A bright future, indeed. Very bright.

- Michael R. Ebert (progzombie.blogspot.com)

 Exoplanet by CONTORTIONIST, THE album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.63 | 26 ratings

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Exoplanet
The Contortionist Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Wicket
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Djent. As quickly as it entered the "metallisphere" (as I call it) with the rise of Meshuggah, people quickly realized that it's super boring and repetitive. But hey, at least the guitars sound cool? Does that count as progress?

Perhaps, but immediately djent focused bands had to refine their approach, and realized that they could alternate the signature "djent" power chords with more subtle guitar approaches, mix in some ambiance and clarity, and The Contortionist was one of the first to really break that mold and become of the first to rapidly gain attention in a more progressive metalcore environment.

And this album doesn't start off too bad. There's plenty of brutality for the heavy-set, but also a fair bit of singing as well as the contrasting "softer spots". Compared to their future albums, though, this album features the most screaming. Therefore, it may seem contradictory that this, their heaviest disc, might also be the most progressive? Hmm, not quite.

Personally, I like their second effort, "Intrinsic", most of all out their catalog so far. It's a pleasant enough balance between both heavy and soft, singing and screaming, hot vs cold tendencies. While "Exoplanet" is far from brilliant, it is fairly self explanatory in educating the un-educated on just what to expect when listening to this band.

Well to sum it up, it's essentially a brutal disc, occasionally behaving in a very rigid, almost technical way, before the occasional break in the sky and a sweet lull of singing and ambient guitar plucks save you from certain face-smashed doom. Beyond that descriptor, there's not really much more to say about this album (and quite honestly, this band).

I mean, if it's something you'd into from day one, congratulations, you might enjoy it. I still find (especially this disc) to be difficult to get into. The later two albums are more accessible, granted, but "Language" I think feels a bit lifeless, not in complete sell out mode, but almost in complete shut-down mode, and frankly, trying to explain this shift in their sound (so quickly, I might add, just a span of 4 years) is impossible even for me right now.

If you favor the brutal side, this is your album. If not, try "Intrinsic". If, however, you desire a more progressive metallic sound, but you want it to be very friendly and predictable, but also balance heavy and soft, then Skyharbor's "Guiding Lights" is for you (I've been stuck on them for weeks now). With radio friendly choruses but unconventional song structures, it shines where "Languages" tries, but in my opinion, fails.

 Intrinsic by CONTORTIONIST, THE album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.18 | 22 ratings

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Intrinsic
The Contortionist Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

Review by Insin

3 stars The Contortionist's first album, Exoplanet, is strongly based in djent and deathcore, and their third album, Language, is full of melodic, soft passages with the occasional heavy interlude. Intrinsic is a logical bridge between the two, less founded in deathcore (and metal in general), with gentle, sugary parts balanced nicely with the heavy, and perhaps even dominating. The closest match to this band's sound would have to be Cynic, considering the band's roots in metal and their tendency to float into completely unaggressive, soft parts. (The Contortionist doesn't excessively use robot/vocoder vocals, so that automatically puts them above Cynic in my opinion.)

The juxtaposition of soft and heavy parts is generally done well, transitions between the two flowing rather than sudden. The melding of these portions is a good effect, useful in bringing Intrinsic more variation and a more progressive sound, but the interplay between the parts seems lacking, like it could have been done better. The parts don't sound like they have much relation to each other and they don't do a good job of moving the song anywhere. After a heavy part occupied by harsh vocals, The Contortionist returns to sugary singing and warm guitars as if it never happened. Since the band's transitions themselves aren't inherently worthwhile (you won't be left thinking "wow, that was cool"), there should be some kind of purpose to the part that is transitioned into. The interplay makes it Intrinsic a more entertaining and progressive listen, but in the end it doesn't really affect how the song moves along, the soft and hard only serving to contrast each other. It doesn't leave the listener wondering what is going to happen next? all of the songs sound very similar to each other anyway.

While the each song as a whole flows but seems as though it is not constructed with the larger musical idea in mind, the individual parts are not bad, though the album's major flaw is that it would be much better if the riffs and instrumentation were more memorable (as an example, I am a sucker for keyboards, but these ones did nothing for me). The clean singing that helps mark the soft passages isn't great, as it is completely emotionless and unaggressive. It resembles the whiny emo vocals so often used in metalcore, but it's not an exact fit. There's a slight spacey, futuristic feel to the music, especially demonstrated and emphasized by the lyrics, and The Contortionist has mostly abandoned breakdowns? mostly.

Given this step away from deathcore and a smooth but still somewhat ineffective incorporation of soft passages into metal roots, Intrinsic is a fairly decent album in a small niche of prog occupied by bands like Cynic. The Contortionist has an interesting sound, though it is one that could be executed better and probably has. Intrinsic is more progressive and an improvement from their first album. The album following Intrinsic is even better, and hopefully this band will continue to improve because they have the potential to make some great prog. Baby steps, guys.

Thanks to bonnek for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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