The Contortionist


01. Primal Directive
02. Flourish
03. Expire
04. Contact
05. Advent
06. Vessel
07. Oscillator
08. Axiom
09. Exoplanet I: Egress
10. Exoplanet II: Void
11. Exoplanet III: Light
[Good Fight | 8/31/10]

Sumeriancore is a genre I generally don’t listen to. I feel like it’s a jack of all trades and a master of none, but Indiana’s The Contortionist prove that you can’t always count something out. If you were hesitant about listening to Sumeriancore bands, now is the time to change that. Simply put, Exoplanet delivers on all levels.

“Primal Directive” is an epitomizing opener, showcasing everything that The Contortionist rely on to make a fantastic album: resonating, heavy-as-fuck riffs intertwined with bright melodies. Throughout the song you’ll be met with these qualities, amplified only by the multi-ranged vocals. From high shrieks to low, booming growls, the vocals are anything but terrible. For even more diversity and to pair with the melodies, there is an extensive use of a vocoder. This fits the theme of the album well, adding an extra level of spacey, planetary-ness (I’m reminded of The FacelessPlanetary Duality album). My only gripe is I feel like the frequent layering of growls over singing abolishes the harmony of it. The contrast seems a bit unnecessary at times with the already-established melodies and tends to make said passage a little awkward and unfitting (middle of “Primal Directive”). While not the most unique harsh vocals, the diverse styles throughout Exoplanet should be enough to perk up your ears. In retrospect, the music here is god tier. What Exoplanet truly excels at is never making your listening experience boring. None of the breakdowns feel obligatory and none of the melodic breaks feel forced. Additionally, some of the unorthodox, unexpected transitions work well. The intro to “Expire” starts with some fading-in vocoder before busting out heavy blast beats while “Contact” feels like it’ll be the ballad of the album, but constantly changes from bright to dark. If you want booming tritone breakdowns, death metal passages and lots of melodies in between then Exoplanet is for you.

Did I mention the lyrics are really badass, too? I’m a sucker for all things space-themed.

Production-wise, everything sounds great. The bass is present, adding a great degree of low-end sound at (almost) all times that really gets my head bobbing. The guitars sound crisp and the drums aren’t overbearing with annoying triggers (*cough* Rareform *cough*). While it might not be the most raw album of the century, it’s certainly not overproduced like a lot of deathcore acts. That’s one of my biggest complaints with deathcore and Exoplanet doesn’t do that. I am a happy man.

With all the nice things said, there are a few problems here. Some of the album falls on the filler side of things. Tracks like “Advent” and “Oscillator” don’t really get my attention as much as the others. While they aren’t bad by any means (and certainly not boring), I feel like there’s way better tracks (“Exoplanet II: Void”). Last but not least, sometimes the album gets monotonous. The vast bass makes things more one-dimensional than it probably is, but these mistakes aren’t enough to deter me and they shouldn’t deter you either.

The Contortionist aren’t well-known, but with this release they should be. What Exoplanet won’t do for you is convert you from anti-deathcore. If you advocate the deathcore scene burning in the pile of shit that it mostly is, your mind will not change with this release. What Exoplanet will do, however, is deliver some fucking great music that is sure to be on repeat.

Exoplanet is heavy. Exoplanet is melodic. Exoplanet is god damn good.

The Contortionist – Exoplanet gets…




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