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Review: The Contortionist, Exoplanet

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The Contortionist
Exoplanet
Good Fight Music
4 stars

I don’t know how well known The Contortionist are in their hometown of Indianapolis. But they’ve earned spots on some of underground metal’s best tours this year.

One listen to their debut full-length, Exoplanet, justifies the quick ascension. Released just over a year ago, it’s being reissued in picture-disc vinyl on Sept. 13.

For good reason. This progressive metal band has some mean chops. They sound like a classically-trained five-piece that ventured to the dark side. The fact that all of their brawling, sinuous songs include a melody — no matter how malignant-sounding it may sometimes be — keeps this from being just another paint-by-numbers metal collection.

Some tracks are more straightforward. “Expire” is pure death metal right down to the growling vocals while “Axiom” is a starry acoustic guitar and piano lullaby.

The rest of Exoplanet is essentially a perfectly-executed blend of the savage and sonorous. “Advent” has fluttering guitar that works nicely with the song’s overall metallic current. “Contact” manages to stay focused despite its combination of clean and harsh vocals and convoluted rhythms, as do the tangled guitars and fitful time signatures of “Vessel.” At more than 6 minutes, “Flourish” may be one of the few compositions tagged as excessive. But even that one has a middle interlude that shows light in its dark heart.

Maybe The Contortionist aren’t as well-known in their hometown because they’re too busy making a name for themselves everywhere else and sounding nothing like their Indy peers. Whatever the case, it’s working.

Hear: "Flourish" from Exoplanet (via AOL Noisecreep)

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