While I have always been a fan of progressive metal, The Contortionist is band with whom I have connected like no other. Upon first listen, the intricate melodies buried in the heft and blare of the thickly churning Intrinisc left me breathless, yet I hungered for something more.
I was sated upon the release of Language. The scope and breadth of the language of sound resonated deeply with me. While vocalist Mike Lessard deliberately left it open-ended, the album encompassed great themes of growth, progression, and the duality inherent in living as human beings. The swirling and lilting melodies, paired with the lusciously full soundscape, created a masterful dreamscape of near dogmatic persistence.
But where Language elevated you, Clairvoyant returns you to earth with its strong undercurrent of darkness. Picking up right where Language left off, “Monochrome” reaches out to the listener, pulling them gently into the convoluted and heavily structured undertow of the richly melancholic themes of this album.
“Reimagined” was the first single to be released, and I was immediately enraptured. The slow, steady bassline leads you into the soft, emotive vocals, building a microcosmic sonisphere. With change and growth comes a shift in perspective, a difference in perception, and the dynamics of the music perfectly encapsulate the lyrical body.
“Absolve” weaves a conversational tale between spiraling riffs and a placid, yet articulate soundscape. It builds in urgency toward the conclusion of the song, giving the listener an emotional release before trailing off into the next track. The entire album flows from one song to the other seamlessly, and it is here that the album becomes less esoteric and more pointed in its message to the listener.
“Return to Earth” was written in memory of a close friend of the band who succumbed to drug addiction. The song itself embodies different aspects of grief, with angry discordant guitars during the verses, while Lessard’s vocals convey emotional upheaval as they intensify and struggle to grasp the listener in the wake of the overwhelming conclusion. The music video reflects the mournful tone with cold, dark imagery, and the passive immovable stances of the band members.
I see Clairvoyant as the reflection of the darker side of human experience, of love and loss, and the darkness that is inherent in the perceived duality of life and living. With personal growth comes great pain and loss, but it is both necessary and beautiful in its own way.
Or, to condense this entire review into a single sentence: Listening to Clairvoyant is like slowly jerking off your brain. Catch them as direct support for Between The Buried And Me this year, but maybe don’t jerk off DURING the show.