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Tag Archive: The Contortionist


warforged

January started the year out with a lot of promise, with new releases from Indian, Alcest, and Periphery gaining quite a bit of attention around these parts. However, what floored us the most in the first four weeks of 2014 was the first-ever proper release from Chicago newcomers Warforged. Essence of the Land is an odyssey exploring death metal, black metal, and progressive metal influences that stunned a large number of the staff group. Opeth comes to mind with the band’s dynamic use of keyboards and acoustic guitars as cinematic gateways between stretches of technical riffing and powerfully melodic brutality, or perhaps Between the Buried and Me’s penchant for epic-length songwriting and weaving a larger picture over multiple tracks.

Essence Of The Land tells the twisted tale of a dread-inducing and brooding swamp and the unknown horrors that lie beneath its surface, making it one of those surprising death metal albums where the lyrics actually add a lot of atmosphere and weight to music. So much so, in fact, that the video accompaniment that provides visuals for ¾ of the EP contains the lyrics throughout, alongside footage of the band tearing through earth-shattering riffs.

At the heart of it, Warforged’s sound presents an assortment of progressive death metal influences that still manages to sound fresh and exciting, despite dredging the very bottom of the swampy sludge they strive to recreate. And honestly, what better way to start a new year than with a new band that are reinvigorating even one of the most well-trodden of sounds?

We spoke with the entirety of Warforged to not only get a look into the creation of one of 2014′s best releases, but to get a glimpse at what’s in store for the band’s future.

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the contortionist michael lessard

Progressive deathcore act The Contortionist have descended upon North Carolina and have begun recording their third album, their first with new frontman Michael Lessard (above, also of Last Chance To Reason). Given their genre and location, it’s a pretty safe bet that the group will be recording with Jamie King at his The Basement home studio.

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brian shields

Disclaimer: I never know what it means when people say one band or one album is “better” than another.  There’s no giant scoreboard in the sky that gives Necrophagist 150,000 Awesomeness Points and Barry Manilow negative 2,000,000 points.  So for me these are the new releases (albums and EP’s) that brought me the most pleasure in 2013.  You can argue about what bands are best but you can’t argue with me about what brings me pleasure.  Chances are by this time next year I will be in love with a record from 2013 that’s not on this list because I wasn’t cool enough to know about it at the time.

Also I have two lists.  One is of more established bands, the ones that came out on larger labels or that have a national or international following.  The second is my “Great New Metal” bands, emerging acts that it’s my mission to help more people discover.

I hope you enjoy living in “The Golden Age of Metal” which I maintain is right fucking now!

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BTBAM Australian tour

Following their successful North American tour wherein they performed their new album Parallax II: Future Sequence in its entirety, Between the Buried and Me took their show down under to Australia, bringing in tow The Contortionist and Aussie homeland favorites Ne Obliviscaris. Photographer William France hit up his local show at The Zoo in Brisbane — the tour’s opening night — and you can see the photos below.

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outrun the sunlight metamorphosis

You may have heard of our friends Outrun the Sunlight. Their debut album The Return of Inertia was received pretty favorably for providing a glimpse of what The Contortionist would sound like if Exoplanet wasn’t a deathcore album at heart. The two-man bedroom act has since expanded into a four-piece fit for live performance, and they’ve recently entered Guideline Studios in Chicago, IL to bring select songs from the debut into a fully-fleshed out and realized live format with Metamorphosis.

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BTBAM headlining tour 2013

Almost a year after the release of their conceptual opus, The Parallax II: Future Sequence, Between the Buried and Me took to the road to perform the album from start to finish. Known for having a top notch booking agent and stellar lineups, they brought The Faceless, The Contortionist, and The Safety Fire in tow for support. New contributor Nick Budosh caught the final stretch of the tour in Baltimore, MD. Catch his photos from the show below.

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michael keene

Great New Metal’s Brian Shields hit up The Faceless mastermind Michael Keene on behalf of Heavy Blog is Heavy to set the record straight on the rumors claiming that the band were facing a breakup, among things on the horizon for the band, including the long-awaited covers album.

Breaking News Flash!  The Faceless is not breaking up.

“No absolutely not.” Michael Keene tells me after The Faceless’ performance as direct support for Between the Buried and Me in Sacramento.  “I don’t know what part of an international world tour, being on a great tour currently, there’s interviews out there where I’m talking about I’m working on a new record, how any of that adds up to us breaking up.

The silly rumors of a breakup started because Keene and his bandmates Geoff Ficco, Alex Rudinger, and Wes Hauch are without bassmeister Evan Brewer on this tour.

“I’ll clear it up as much as I can at the moment,” Michael explains. “Evan is trying out with a project that is kind of a big deal to him.  It’s one of his all-time favorite bands.  He’s playing some shows with them.  I’m sure everyone’s about to find out what it is any day now.  It’s not really my place to say what it is but he’s not out of the band.  He’s still in the band it’s just felt like he needed to give this a shot.  So, he’s missing the tour.”

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The Safety Fire - Mouth of Swords

Hot on the heels of last week’s music video for ‘Red Hatchet, The Safety Fire have released another video teasing more material from their upcoming record, Mouth Of Swords. The brief video sees the celebratory band goofing off and enjoying some fancy cigars and champagne, all to the sound of some new music from the album. You can have a listen below:

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Last Chance To Reason - Level 3

One of the best young bands around is Last Chance To Reason. Hands down one of the most promising up-and-coming progressive metal groups to come out of the woodwork over the past few years. Their sophomore album Level 2 blew our minds when it was released on Prosthetic Records in 2011. For fans of Between the Buried and Me, this friendly bunch of geeks ramps up off-the-wall prog with an overarching conceptual universe with existential themes presented in the guise of a science fiction epic relating to Artificial Intelligence. At least, that’s what I grasped from Level 2. Level 3 will build upon these themes, according to drummer Evan Sammons.

But that’s not all. It’s been one hell of a busy 24 hours for the group in so far as laying their cards for the future on the table. Metalsucks announced this morning that vocalist Michael Lessard will become The Contortionist‘s full-time vocalist while Last Chance To Reason becomes something more like a studio project.

Even more of a bummer, both guitarists left shortly after completion of Level 3. Fortunately, there’s still another tour in the works though, as we’ve heard that the group have tapped The Contortionist’s Robby Bacca to fill in on guitar duties when they hit the road with Evan Brewer in July.

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BTBAM headlining tour 2013

Last night we broke the news that Between the Buried and Me were planning a headlining North American tour in which they played the entirety of their opus The Parallax II: Future Sequence, bringing in support from The Faceless, The Contortionist, and The Safety Fire. Now, the full run of dates has been announced, and these four progressive metal acts will snake across the United States in plenty of secondary markets, so fans have ample opportunity to catch this excellent tour. Since signing to Metal Blade, I don’t think Between the Buried in Me have been on a single bad tour! Dates below.

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