The transformation The Contortionist have undertaken since their inception has been quite simply staggering. From their heavier but still progressive-nuanced Deathcore-like début album Exoplanet (Good Fight), they evolved and changed (considerable line-up changes aside) into a much more melodic, post-rock and even jazz influenced outfit by the time of 2014’s Language only two albums later. Venturing even further down the rabbit hole, latest album Clairvoyant (both eOne) branches even further from their early Tech Metal roots, thus showing even further expansion and breaking of limits.
The most striking difference between this and previous efforts is its sense of atmosphere; feeling more ethereal rather than using sheer technicality. Deceptively stripped down in sound, post-Rock airy soundscapes form the bulk, married with Michael Lessard’s (Last Chance To Reason) hypnotic vocals that whilst impressive, never overpower the rest of the collective. An overall darker and downtrodden affair than seen on previous efforts, the slower pacing, creeping melodicism and sweeping soundscapes are peppered with the occasional, comparatively abrasive texture and subtle builds; offering a more emotive and complete journey, coupled with an immediacy missing from Language but with plentiful layers to peel back and return to.
Always being ones to choose creativity over the expected and familiar pathway, Clairvoyant is another example of The Contortionist’s bold and ever-shifting musical vision and is to date their most rounded and rewarding listen to date. Captivating and sumptuous with true beauty within its bleakness; and more impressively, still shows signs of further expansion in the future.
This is a monumental triumph of an album, and yet still could only be an indicator of things to come.