The Contortionist: Intrinsic

Progressive outfit The Contortionist materialized in Indianapolis just a few years back and now offer their second full-length, Intrinsic. Mirroring many aspects of other groups within the genre, it’s easy to draw parallels between this band’s style and that of prog artists before them, such as Meshuggah. The 10-song record commences with “Holomovement,” a six-minute cut that rebounds back-and-forth between brutality and feather-light melodies. Fluctuating from singing in a form that borders on an angelic gospel tone to diving deep for unadulterated, feral growls, vocalist Jonathan Carpenter has given himself a wide range sonically.

A lot of ambient keyboarding and delicate guitar strumming keep the metal aspects of this album entertaining. “Casualty” powers through with unrelenting screams over technical guitar picking and just when you think you can’t take anymore, the listener is satiated by a more classic metal style solo accompanied by a haunting vocal breakdown. The format of “Geocentric Confusion” is a perfect example of how this band goes from one extreme to the next. Track five begins with heavy guitars that chug along until the number’s end, where the singer comes through once more with an innovative and ethereal vocal climax. Toward the song’s end on “Dreaming Schematics,” the riffs become super prog-oriented and that is where you get that Meshuggah-influenced feel at its clearest. “Solipsis” is a minute and a half long devilishly heavy cut that transitions fluidly into “Parallel Trance,” the final number, which is filled with celestial, ambient bits that make this track sound like something out of Donnie Darko. The Contortionist are properly working their angle with the way that they have made this prog album their own. This band definitely has room to grow and hopefully they want to expand their horizons as much as they need to in order to stand out in contemporary metal.

In A Word: Futuristic