The Contortionist
Intrinsic


3.0
good

Review

by Jacob R. STAFF
July 20th, 2012 | 528 replies


Release Date: 2012 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Progressive backpedaling, dressed up in a convincing package.

It’s exhausting being an avid progressive junkie like me, because of how often you get disappointed. In a genre that prides itself on experimentation, it’s necessary for musicians to remain moving forward, testing new waters and paving new paths to success. While it’s great that such evolution is encouraged, it can also be detrimental for groups to fear staying in one place for too long.

Although The Contortionist’s debut album Exoplanet was a progressive deathcore success that nobody anticipated, the gears have shifted vastly since 2010 to prompt the creation of Intrinsic. The album features a more prominently progressive landscape, nudging the earth-shattering deathcore moments to the side to fit between pockets of tranquil ambiance. While the group’s new formula certainly isn’t flawless, it at least leads to a few of The Contortionist’s greatest moments yet. “Holomovement” channels the likes of Cynic in its dreamy atmosphere, in a way unexplored by the group this far. Elsewhere, “Geocentric Confusion” ends on the sweetest note before giving way to the ambiance that defines Intrinsic’s transitions.

There are issues that are immediately evident upon the first listen, though, and they primarily stem from The Contortionist having somewhat of an identity crisis. For instance, both the tracks I mentioned earlier only falter when descending into the depths of deathcore. And while these roads were traveled more extensively on Exoplanet, the reason that they worked so well is that they were indicative of a group in unison. The breakdowns in “Oscillator” had been done before, sure, but at least they were achieved comfortably. The heavy moment in “Holomovement” is not only completely unnecessary but also just unpleasant from a cohesive standpoint - every instrument’s struggling to be heard, fighting for a cause that’s yet to be determined.

Vocalist Jonathan Carpenter also struggles to utilize his voice in an innovative manner, adhering strictly to pitch-corrected singing for the melodic moments and monotonous shouts in the “brutal” parts. The relationship between the vocals and instruments isn’t as harmonious as on the group’s previous offering, and granted, part of this may be attributed to the production. After all, the guitar tone is so keen on resembling the idea of “djent” that it’s hardly distinguishable during the more complex passages.

The progressive leanings are performed curiously, as well. “Causality” closes out on a very introspective note, only to have “Sequential Vision” destroy the mood without a moment’s hesitation. The problem with the latter song’s introduction is the carefree nature it possesses (for unspecified reasons), and the conflict against the otherwise tension-packed voyage that the rest of the tracks create. Intrinsic wants to be a deep album, but when causeless riffs go nowhere it dampens the album’s potential. When tension is released it gets extinguished immediately, and when heavier moments arrive there’s no buildup to even faintly warrant them.

There’s no justifiable reason for the changes The Contortionist have enacted, except for what feels like a desire to sound important. High ambitions are only a problem when they conflict with a band’s identity, and the progressive metal group didn’t rise from the hardcore-punk-rooted town of Indianapolis to create a monumental album on the second swing. Intrinsic showcases a band aching to be in someone else’s skin, aspiring to the accomplishments of their predecessors while, well, floundering a little bit in the creative department.



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user ratings (641)
Chart.
3.4
great
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • zyglrob (4.5)
    A fully-fledged, flowing, and astute record which proves that ‘Exoplanet’ was no fluke...

    peartnoy (4)
    Contorting itself maybe just a tad too much....

    Funeral (2)
    Why is there a breakdown here? because it's here, roll the bones....

    Alexandre Hamel (4.5)
    Overall, “Intrinsic” is a great sophomore album, combining elements of deathcore, ambi...

  • G.M.B. (4)
    The Contortionist craft an enticing heap of progressive goodness juxtaposed with brilliant...


Comments:Add a Comment 
cvlts
July 20th 2012


8967 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

agreed. that last paragraph is gold. pos'd

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012


10273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Originally posted at http://www.muzikdizcovery.com

"Geocentric Confusion" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4y5uWHiiVYY
"Feedback Loop" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJyIhPMSS5Y
"Dreaming Schematics" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ydgeyBOVGk&feature=relmfu

Big disappointment for me, seeing as Exoplanet was one of my favorite albums of 2010.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012


10273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Whoop, ya beat me for the first comment! ;] glad to see you've got my back, haha.

ILJ
July 20th 2012


6708 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Great review Jacob. The more I listen the more the sheer lack of organization ruins it for me.

SowingSeason
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012


16409 Comments


Nice review mr. big shot contributor

Digging: Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Tyrael
July 20th 2012


20893 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'M SO MAD RIGHT NOW

pos'd though

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012


10273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

ILJAJLM - thanks, man. Sorry to hear that you aren't enjoying it as much anymore. I know the album certainly depreciated each listen for me.

Sowing - Excuse me, but I didn't give you permission to comment on my review. Who do you think you are? You lowly... oh, wait. You're a staffer. Damn it. Ok. So I'll wash your feet or clip your toenails or anything else you wanted, master.

Tyraelxy - Thanks for the pos, friend. I'm assuming you're a fan of the album?



Rev
July 20th 2012


9436 Comments


this band is sooo lame


great review though man

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012


10273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Dylan - the BIGGEST Contortionist fan I've ever known!

Thanks man. Hey man, it wasn't cool around these places to like Exoplanet, but I loved the hell out of that album.

Gyromania
July 20th 2012


15941 Comments


Good work, dude. I think this album is pretty bad, truth be told.

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

Motiv3
July 20th 2012


8938 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

good review, disappointing album.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012


10273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Cheers :D

And fair enough, man. I originally had the album rated as a 3.5, but I grow more disdain for it every time I hear it.

Gyromania
July 20th 2012


15941 Comments


I pretty much agree with Xeno on this one.

Tyrael
July 20th 2012


20893 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

'Tyraelxy - Thanks for the pos, friend. I'm assuming you're a fan of the album?'

Yup

I love the space-y feel of this album, the cynic influences and the deathcore elements even though there are few

LifeAsAChipmunk
July 20th 2012


4854 Comments


This is the review that I agree with most. Although I can't really comment on the identity thing because I've never been a fan of the band. The "progressive interludes" that Xeno was referring to really bored me. :/

someguest
July 20th 2012


20865 Comments


This is good. It's not like this band has anywhere near a classic within them anyway.

Digging: Dexter Gordon - Our Man in Paris

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012


10273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I'm glad you can relate, Chipmunk. I actually enjoy the ambient interludes more than most of the album, though. They actually have an identity, just a more passive one.

And someguest, I agree except Exoplanet was pretty damn classic. *shakes fist*



someguest
July 20th 2012


20865 Comments


Exoplanet was fun. I think this is much closer to the spiritual/new age vibe they wanted to give off - it succeeds at this pretty well in fact.

LifeAsAChipmunk
July 20th 2012


4854 Comments


The 1st paragraph is all kinds of true. It makes a lot of things really hit or miss.

Omaha
Staff Reviewer
July 20th 2012


10273 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Exoplanet was fun. I think this is much closer to the spiritual/new age vibe they wanted to give off - it succeeds at this pretty well in fact.

I can agree with this, to be honest. I'm a harsh critic that values his opinion too much, but this is true.

And yeah dude. The latest Opeth comes to mind immediately, at least for me.



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