The Contortionist
Our Bones


3.5
great

Review

by SitarHero CONTRIBUTOR (60 Reviews)
August 9th, 2019 | 123 replies


Release Date: 2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Rising from an early grave

It's hard not to think of Our Bones as a reset button for The Contortionist. Their last LP, 2017's Clairvoyant, proved to be divisive in that it signified the band's complete excision of its deathcore roots in favour of something resembling just straight up alternative-tinged progressive rock, and it was the logical conclusion of the band's journey from its full-length debut, 2010's Exoplanet, through 2012's Intrinsic and 2014's Language. While the sonic evolution of the band was not without its detractors it was certainly "progressive", with every album sounding different, but not jarringly so, from its predecessor and carrying the band steadily towards its hypothetical destination. But now that their evolution, from aggressive and breakdown-heavy metal band to nuanced and (overly¿) subtle rock band, is complete where do they go¿ I imagine that question is one that the band has been asking themselves as much as their fans have been asking them, because the fact that Our Bones is a brief 4-song EP that's still probably more sonically diverse than Clairvoyant indicates that they're testing the waters of a future evolutionary voyage.

"Follow" and "Early Grave", the first 2 tracks on the EP and the real meat in this offering, are a breath of fresh air. No, they're not a step backwards towards the band's beginnings, but rather a step sideways. The band embraces quasi-breakdowns and harsh vocals once again, but not in the same way they did on Language. The band's penchant for nuance and subtlety exerts itself even when they get heavy, especially on "Follow", resulting in a song that is dynamically far more interesting than anything on Clairvoyant while still retaining its melodicism. There are real riffs here—more raw and less calculated than one is used to hearing from The Contortionist—and Mike Lessard actually asserts himself to complement and control them rather than contorting himself to avoid getting in their way. "Early Grave" sounds, instrumentally, like it could have been an outtake from Clairvoyant, but Lessard once again elevates it by not blending into the background the way he did far too often on Clairvoyant. Neither song has a standout vocal hook, but they're also not so subtle that they require multiple listens before making an impression.

The second half of the EP, comprising the truncated "All Grey" and a cover of The Smashing Pumpkins' "1979" is a tad more confusing. "All Grey" is a pretty piano driven ballad that is so ephemeral and short that it makes almost no impression. It almost feels like an intro to another song before it just fades out and is forgotten. "1979" is a completely straight cover that's pleasant enough, but also illustrates the major problem with the idea of The Contortionist as a alternative/progressive rock band; Mike Lessard is simply not interesting enough as a purely clean vocalist to pull it off convincingly. The original "1979" was a simple little song that was elevated to haunting beauty by the inherent ugliness of Billy Corgan's voice. Corgan's coarse snarl added depth of emotion to the bittersweet nostalgia even though he was trying to be gentle and tuneful. Conversely Lessard's much more conventionally pretty voice just floats along the surface of the song barely creating an emotional ripple

Even though this EP isn't an artistic statement, it does its job by drumming up interest in the future plans and direction of the band. It has enough good moments to start the ball rolling on the hype machine for the band's next album. Hopefully, that album will contain more harder-edged prog in the vein of "Follow" than tepid alt rock in the vein of "1979", but only time will tell.



Recent reviews by this author
He Is Legend White BatDestrage The Chosen One
The Wildhearts Renaissance MenSolitude Aeturnus Beyond the Crimson Horizon
Periphery Periphery IV: Hail StanDevin Townsend Empath
user ratings (98)
Chart.
3.3
great
other reviews of this album
ValenDreth (5)
...



Comments:Add a Comment 
SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
August 9th 2019


10359 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Next time, an album full of Follows please, Mr. The Contortionist! kthxbai

OwMySnauze
August 9th 2019


2000 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Not sure if they were just playing it safe and testing the waters with this EP. A little underwhelming

DrGonzo1937
Staff Reviewer
August 9th 2019


15517 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Thank god for a good review lol



Nice work man

Digging: Slipknot - We Are Not Your Kind

SteakByrnes
August 9th 2019


15500 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This EP is solid, Follow and Early Grave are so dope

Digging: Windwaker - Empire

sizeofanocean
August 9th 2019


1317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Overall good review, but i disagree very, very strongly about your point that his clean vocals are not interesting enough for the duration of a song. I think he really conveys a lot of passion, even if he sounds laid back like on 1979

sizeofanocean
August 9th 2019


1317 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Or most of Clairvoyant for that matter

Toondude10
August 9th 2019


13983 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

this shit is boring af, I want them to get back to deathcore

Digging: Teramaze - Esoteric Symbolism

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
August 9th 2019


10359 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

@Gonzo: Ha! Thanks and you're welcome!



@Ocean: His clean vocals are much more interesting on Follow, but he favours super laid-back melodies far too much. Even the choice of Pumpkins song indicates that, and it's just not his forte.

Piripichotes
August 9th 2019


517 Comments


"this shit is boring af, I want them to get back to deathcore"

this is what you'll hear:
"there's plenty of bands that sound exactly the same as EXOPLANET, go listen to them"
and not a single soul will tell you which bands are those pulling that same exact (or at least similar) sound.

Piripichotes
August 9th 2019


517 Comments


I had a blast with the latest The Odious offering in case you're wondering Toon.

OwMySnauze
August 9th 2019


2000 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Follow sounds like a much better aggressive version of Tool

AgentDeathbat
August 9th 2019


10022 Comments


@Toon: Really? I felt as if their deathcore shit wasn't even that great, their material from Language onwards is where they really shine imo.

Dmax28
August 9th 2019


594 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Exoplanet and Language are their best. Clairvoyant was boring for the most part but I have to give it props for having an interesting tone. This is an improvement but it's 2 songs so how excited can I be. Hopefully we get an LP next year or something.

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
August 9th 2019


16484 Comments


Nice rev man. I was gonna pass on this but I'll give it a listen. Didn't even realize it was an EP.

Oh, and The Odious' latest is great.

Digging: Grima - Will of the Primordial

SitarHero
Contributing Reviewer
August 9th 2019


10359 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah Dewi, it's under 15 minutes long so not a long listen at all. The first two songs, particularly the first, are good though.

Get Low
August 9th 2019


6111 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

rules

Son of Mr. Pain
August 9th 2019


24814 Comments


Well, the album cover is gorgeous at least.

TundraL5Z
August 9th 2019


3024 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

It's like 2.5 to 3.0, wow is this thing dull and boring

Digging: Shadow of Intent - Melancholy

po0ty
August 9th 2019


612 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

They can cover Smashing Pumpkins with 1979 but can't cover Architects with Early Grave, smh

Digging: The Paper Kites - On the Corner Where You Live

MarsKid
Contributing Reviewer
August 9th 2019


9930 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Strong review and well-written, good job.



Though I disagree with the implicit assumption that The Contortionist lacked nuance on Exoplanet. Rather, it was because of their balance between the overt aggression of deathcore and the beauty of post-rock soundscapes that propelled them ahead of the competition. The dichotomy of heaviness and subtle ambiance turned the album into a gem that even deathcore detractors could at the very least respect.



The further this band has moved from deathcore, the more they have lost what truly made them special. It is not necessarily because of the loss of deathcore itself, but the sacrifice of the brutal weight it can supply to passages. Everything since has been a steady downgrade, and I really have zero interest in listening to this unfortunately. It will most likely come across to me as average.



Obligatory disclaimer since Contortionist fans love to jump at these kind of posts: Yes, the band is welcome to change, and kudos to them for finding success in doing so. But fans are allowed to disagree with/dislike that change.

Digging: Sparrows - Failed Gods



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy