Videoclip of the Month!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Contortionist - Apparition

The Contortionist - Apparition


Apparition is The Contortionist’s second EP which was self released in 2009. Their sound consists of extreme metal combined with progressive metal elements. As for which extreme metal influences come into play here, this could be border lining deathcore and death metal as it’s a little difficult to tell what these guys exactly are. Many people like to consider these guys as a progressive deathcore band because some may argue that there are more deathcore influences than death metal ones. Either way, this “style” of playing progressive music has only been around for a few years and already it’s developing quite a fan base.

The most apparent element to any progressive deathcore/death metal band is the atmosphere. There is absolutely no denying that these guys have an atmosphere to their sound and there is no doubt that they are trying to endorse it.  There is quite a mix of atmosphere and emotion lurking in this EP, it’s a mix of happy and dark emotions and sometimes they even mix them which can get confusing at times. But there is one thing that is a little less evident until you put all the pieces of their music and style together. I’m not exactly sure, but I think they might have tried to put a scope element in their music. There are two reasons why I think this; they have put a few unconventional ambient sounds in their music which has a sci-fi vibe to them, and secondly, look at the cover. This basically screams the promotion of atmosphere and scope to their music. Just listening to this makes me want to play a round of Mass Effect for something like that.

Now for the big question, which has influenced in their music more, death metal or deathcore? The short answer is deathcore because it does in fact have more deathcore influences in their music rather than straight up death metal. The song structure is probably the first and foremost thing to point out, it has deathcore characteristics. The organisation of the music is much like a typical deathcore band would do it, there are plenty of melodic and unmelodic sections in this EP. This is probably one of the key characteristics of a deathcore band. Another curtail component in deathcore that this band has is the breakdowns. Yep, this EP has them, but no, they don’t overuse them at all and no they don’t chug a lot. Now having non-chuggy breakdowns is actually more common in progressive deathcore than what people seem to think.

I have touched on this topic before, but the sheer beauty of the music is probably the best aspect of The Contortionist’s sound. The music is so uplifting at times that it could drag you out of an unhappy mood in an instant, yes, it is that powerful. Now this is all down to the guitars I reckon, it has the same vibe and style of playing that you could associate with melodic death or power metal. And for all who don’t know, those two are probably the most uplifting genres of metal. This is due mainly to the high pitch tremolo picking and guitar solos.

The final aspect of their music and is the reason why people might get this band confused with a death metal band is the level of technicality. These guys, at times sound just like a good technical death metal band, the drumming is insane and you can almost feel your blood pumping through your veins. The music isn’t loose either, which is why I tend to lean towards death metal rather than deathcore on this note.  

This is one long EP if you consider that it only has seven tracks on it. But there is only one thing that disappoints me about this EP and it does have a huge impact on my final verdict. And it’s the lack of variety the release has as a whole. There isn’t much on here even though is a very distinct contrast between beautiful and dark sides to the music. Also, I don’t really think the music flows very well either. They have seemed too leave many holes in the middle of tracks and throughout the whole EP which includes 5 minutes of silence half way through a track (5 MINUTES!).

There are a few tracks on this EP that are worth listening to though, The opening track Infection is probably one of the only tracks that I have ever heard that is almost pure progressive deathcore. The structure and styles utilized in this track have the typical characteristics of a deathcore band but it’s nothing really special though. Now the next track, Realms, is special. Sure, it might start off slow and generic but after the first minute of so, it really displays how technical progressive deathcore can get. It’s extremely fast, tight and best of all it makes sense.  Eyes: Closed is the next track on the EP and it’s regarded as being The Contortionist’s signature track, I have no idea why though, I mean yeah sure it’s long and a little adventurous but it hasn’t really pushed any boundaries at all. But I think my favourite track is definitely Oscillator, the reason why is that it’s such a beautiful track. The music is extremely uplifting and well crafted, they really have put some thought into this. It’s not technical, not energetic but it’s so forceful at the same time.

Overall this isn’t a bad progressive deathcore release there are some memorable moments here. I think the most memorable trait of the music would have to be the sheer beauty of the music, yeah sure, the technicality and darkness helps it along a little, but the main stage has to be given to the emotions, the happy emotions. Although this is a descent release, there are a few flaws with the biggest one being the flow of the music. To me, progressive deathcore is supposed to be a majestic graceful kind of genre. There have left many holes which disrupt the flow of the music. I recommend this EP to any fans of progressive death and deathcore, especially for fans of The Yellow Sign. The Yellow Sign and The Contortionist stand tall as the giants of progressive deathcore. I recommend the tracks Realms for anyone who likes a little technicality and energy to their music, and the track Oscillator for people who enjoy the beautiful side deathcore. Overall I give The Contortionist’s Apparition a 14/20.  


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