Formed in 2007 from Indianapolis, Indiana, The Contortionist are an American Progressive Metal band known for their frequent change in lineup and releasing a new album every 2 years. They now break that trend with their newest album Clairvoyant, released on September 15th, 2017, through eOne Music. This follows up to 2014’s critically acclaimed album Language. Clairvoyant provides songs with non-traditional structures, a staple of The Contortionist’s composition. Dynamic shifts within both beautiful and brutal realms of songwriting abound; containing rich, thick layers of brilliant harmonic singing both adding to and emphasizing the layered musicality throughout. Their definitive sound is almost comparable to Between The Buried And Me mixed with Scale The Summit arrangement. This presentable yet aggressive, ambient-esque sequences giving way to extreme defiance transition naturally and effortlessly.
Clairvoyant combines abstraction links, rhythmic hooks that pull you in despite their complex time signatures, and hypnotizing emotive passages laced with precise singing and atmospheric keyboard. Tracks such as Return To Earth, Clairvoyant, Monochrome (Passive) and Monochrome (Pensive) showcase a multi-layered, atmospheric and colorful theme. The musical arrangements also present a magical quality that promises to keep Progressive Metal signatures present and definitive, all while showcasing the band’s softer and more emotionally driven sound. Overall, this signifies a more mature, simpler to appreciate side of the band while sacrificing none of their original creative ingenuity. Additionally, there are some new influences in the form of psychedelic/post-rock passages that form a calming parallel to the album’s lyrical content.
While Clairvoyant may be less diverse than previous efforts it still retains beautiful instrumentations, wonderful craftsmanship and an optimistically peaceful quality. This creative shift may be a bit jarring for longtime fans, but well worth the effort to properly take in over multiple listens. If you enjoyed Langauge, Clairvoyant is another vast improvement, combining hybridizations of many influences and some degree of musical self-indulgence. Their music is a wonderful form of art that brings many new things to the table for this constantly evolving, but consistently excellent band.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Review by Jake Butler