The Contortionist – Language – 9.25/10
-Hearing that Michael Lessard of Last Chance to Reason was going to become the singer of The Contortionist left me with one thought: “How could this not be amazing?”. The two bands had a similar style anyway. Level 3 and Intrinsic saw the two bands growing closer in sound as Last Chance to Reason started to not rely on the game-sounding keyboards as much and The Contortionist started focusing on more technical sounding riffs instead of the heavy emphasis on breakdowns. I also knew Michael was already a huge fan of The Contortionist and he had toured with the band across the US filling in for singer Jonathan Carpenter who was unavailable at the time. In my head, I had already imagined what the band was going to sound like, and (not trying to sound like a know it all) actually had a pretty close idea. That being said, it doesn’t make this album any less awesome. Starting with “The Source”, one of the most beautiful opening tracks ever, the album moves through different moves and styles. “Language I: Intuition” shows an emphasis on melody and tone which very catchy melodies and is the easiest song to sing along with on the album (much like “Holomovement” was on Instrinsic), “Language II: Conspire” brings the brutality to the mix in a nicely balanced way, bringing up melodies that were used in the previous song. “Integration”, “Thrive”, and “Primordial Sound” continue this blend of heaviness, jazz, tone, melody, progressive, and other elements in a way that only this group of talented individuals can do. They are full of moments of dissonant moments that all get resolved before the album moves on the next track. And we still haven’t gotten to the last two tracks, which are the two epics of the album (both clocking in at just over 7 minutes). “Ebb and Flow” starts off technical but moves on to more melodic and memorable as the track goes on. The ending of this song would have been a fitting ending to the album, and makes you wonder why they didn’t do that. But then you realize that they use the same formula for the albums true closer, “The Parable”. “The Parable” is a wonderful closer that once again starts off complex before moving on to its final section where it repeats strong melodies before fading out and ending with a soundclip (I have a high emphasis on the album as a whole, so when I see a great opener and great closer like The Contortionist did here, I am a sucker for it). Unlike Level 3 by Last Chance to Reason, I continually find myself coming back to it, and tracks like “Primordial Sound” which did not impress me at first have become more memorable the more I listen to them. Seeing them tour for this album was definitely a highlight, because the tracks really get brought out well in a live setting.