Review: The Contortionist – Language

Location: Indianapolis, Indiana
Genre: Progressive Metal with deathcore elements
Released: September 16, 2014
Format Reviewed: FLAC
Feature: National Uprising – Recent Releases

By: Kris Kotlarik

What do you get when you cross Cynic riffs with Haken clean vocals, then add occasional Born of Osiris death growls? Some fantastic music with a few moments that stick out like a sore thumb.

Their first lineup following a series of lineup changes, Language starts off in an almost meditative state. “The Source” is a piano-driven intro with some soothing vocals that are frequent throughout this album. “The Language I: Intuition” carries that mood with a great riff. There are some subtle growls that add to the overall vibe of the track; this also occurs in “Primordial Sound.” Both tracks are great.

“The Language II: Conspire” is easily the heaviest track and contains some “chugga” riffs (and a vibraslap). “Integration” is a solid track that is more in the spirit of “The Language I,” but contains some completely out-of-place growls two-thirds of the way through. On the other side of the spectrum, the growls in “Arise” actually make sense as it matches the overall feel of the track.

In addition to “The Language 1,” the best tracks are “Thrive” and “Primordial Sound,” with the closing two tracks close behind. The production on this record is crisp, but what really stands out is the cohesiveness of the instruments in the mix. No single instrument overpowers the others at any given time, although that vibraslap took a couple of listens to pick up. I’m not sure why that was thrown in there, but I know I heard it. Unlike the lyrics in Iron Reagan’s The Tyranny Of Will, they stand out here. They are easily understood for the most of the part, and take on the spiritual and self-inspiring lyrical themes of Cynic and Haken, among other prog metal bands.

Overall: Aside from those out-of-place growls, this is a surprising nominee for this year’s top 30 albums.

Rating: 4.0*

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