The Contortionist – Language
29th September 2014, 15:00
Posted by Tristan

Language is a concept that comes in many different forms, from the earliest days of man we had the beginnings of a language with grunting, which then evolved to some form of communication that in time took form into the way of speaking that we now know. Having said that, expressing yourself  holds many possibilities, giving people the option of speaking in different tongues and different dialects. Accentuating nuances that would normally be forgotten, giving words and terms double meanings in peoples respective mother tongue, enter The Contortionist.

After the departure of their previous vocalist Jonathan Carpenter,  The Contortionist had begun their search to find his replacement, after hearing many different auditions from many different people the band opted to go with Last Chance To Reason vocalist Michael Lessard. Lessard seems to be the missing link that the band we’re trying to fill, with his vocal performance nurturing the listener in opener “The Source” to the almost U2 like introductiong of “Language I : Intuition“. Coating each song with a serene undertone but also having the possibility of biting back on some of the album’s heavier material Lessard is a brilliant piece to the puzzle. However the real highlight of Language is the dynamic of the band itself, prior to this release the band had written Intrinsic. A good album, don’t get me wrong but it felt clunky and unplanned, with many elements of the song seeming to be easily forgettable as essentially hard to differentiate. Whereas with Language each song co exists harmoniously with the previous and the subsequent tracks.

Although by no means are The Contortionist an old band, for young upstarts they have gotten off on the right foot. Although their influences may have rubbed off slightly with elements of songs sounding similar to todays contemporary progressive metal bands “Integration“, being a good example sounding similar to a certain band from North Carolina The Contortionist always ensure to make it their own. One of the biggest achievement these young upstarts have is that the evolution of their sound has only just begun, exhibiting a forward thinking sound that has reminded me of progressive metal genius Cynic. It seems to be that The Contortionist have a slight conceptual ideology behind the record, beginning with “The Source” moving through various soundscapes, exhibiting the more aggressive side in “Language II : Conspire” whilst always keeping the listener at just within arms reach until the climactic “The Parable” the musical overlay of the album is a narrative echoing the ideology behind the concept of Language and evolution itself.

With songs like “Primordial Sound” and the penultimate “Ebb and Flow” , The Contortionist have shown that they are capable of composing material that treads the perfect tightrope between heavy, experimental and soothing all the same. Writing a record of this magnitude so early on in their career is a fantastic milestone for the band. With Language, not only are The Contortionist masters in their mother tongue but have understood that all Language is relative, all different forms of communication denote the same ideal and with that you become the master of Language.