Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
The Contortionist - Intrinsic CD (album) cover


The Contortionist


Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.22 | 27 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

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.

Insin | 3/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this THE CONTORTIONIST review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.