Welcome to Throwback Thursday! This is the place where we get to indulge in nostalgia and wax poetic about excellent metal of years past. Ladies and djentlemen, this 73rd TBT pushes forward into a month featuring a genre that grows more and more popular each year – yet somehow stays largely out of the glare of metal's limelight, relegated to a niche among technical-minded, progressive-loving metalheads. Leading the way in the early 10's was Exoplanet. This album would spring The Contortionist into many US Tours with dozens of beloved names throughout metal, eventually pushing the band into creating music that has become wildly popular with both metal heads and the US Hard Rock Billboard charts.
THE CONTORTIONIST EXOPLANET
Release Date: August 2010
Record Label: Good Fight
The marriage of djent and progressive music is a beautiful union. Progressive musicians are the ones who push their music way beyond anticipated song structures. Combining that ingenuity and experimentation with the low-pitched, sonic guillotine of djent provides the dance floor upon which sonic engineers dance their strange, hypnotic dance. Exoplanet, The Contortionist's first studio album, embodies this marriage of djent and progression in a beautiful, tough, and heavy album.
The reason Exoplanet is worth noting in the short-lived history of djent is because of what the album did for deathcore. Exoplanet's production is bright, controlled and balanced. At times the djent riffs resonate with the bratty tone of mid-90's nu-metal; then they sporadically dissolve into heavy breakdowns (deathcore). Exoplanet evolves these ideas with technicality and momentum, pushing odd time signatures and melody into more unforgiving measures. The result is gripping. Check out the song "Flourish":
I love that Exoplanet has the ability to attract younger hardcore fans with the albums' deathcore elements. Little did these breakdown lovin', ninja dancin' lads know, their minds were also being penetrated with proggy, melodic goodness between the hype of the breakdowns. That is one of the reasons Exoplanet is so successful. It blends 'breakdown with beauty' in a new and inventive way. The contrasting softer parts are expressive, layered, and thoughtful. The Contortionist didn't add these elements for the sake of contrast; they're cared for and written with as much intention as the heavier riffs. Check out the song "Contact":
Exoplanet has a remastered version that I prefer overall to the original version. Several tracks were reworked and rearranged and the Exoplanet redux has a much better thematic flow. The Contortionist's Facebook page features the lyrics from Exoplanet on their notes section.
If you're a fan of The Contortionist they're on tour right now! Catch them and maybe they'll play fan favorite "Primal Directive":