This band is absolutely incredible, and they
are the future of deathcore. One of my favorite releases in the past couple years, Exoplanet is an album I think every metal fan should at least give a chance.
First of all, how do you classify The Contortionist based on this album? It's a little tricky: they display a lot of progressive elements, a lot of soft singing, a lot of djenty riffs, a lot of atmospheric tones, yet maintain breakdowns througout. It's an interesting mix of deathcore, unlike any band out there, but deathcore nonetheless. And it's definitely not
Sumeriancore, due primarily to the differences in their breakdowns: they're slower, and more akin to the traditional deathcore scene, rather than fast and Meshuggah-inspired.
But despite those breakdowns, this album displays an incredible range of emotions just not prevelant in any other deathcore release. Take my favorite song from it, "Flourish": from 2:25 until about 4:50, you have a very heartfeldt build up, starting with clean, atmospheric tones into a simple-yet-catchy and deep solo, culminating into a wall of sound that engulf the listener and immerses you, not unlike most prog metal. When the Contortionist get soft, and they do clean vocals (which are fantastic- think of it as The Faceless' cleans on steroids), they display their true talent. The opening of the song "Contact" is very similar, another gem from the album. I highly, HIGHLY recommend for everyone to give "Contact" and "Flourish" a listen. This just might be the deathcore you can deal with if you hate the traditional stereotypes.
When they get heavy, though, it's also great. Most breakdowns are more than single-note chugfests, incorporating odd time signatures and catchy riffs. The single note-chugfests are there, though, and that tends to be what turns off most "troo" metal listeners from loving them. They're first album was standard deathcore, and with Exoplanet, they evolved exponentially into their own niche of the genre. I feel that it's only a matter of time until they evolve completely from deathcore, ditching all of their breakdowns for a more prog/sumeriancore feel, which I would welcome with open arms.
Until then, this album stands out as the bastard cousin of deathcore that's trying to actually move
the genre somewhere. Screw Acacia, Whitechapel, and Suicide Silence- the Contortionist don't conform to deathcore standards. It's evolving the genre into a different beast entirely, and only time will tell what fascinating new music we'll get from this band and their contemporaries, and even if we can call the genre "deathcore" still 5 years from now. My prediction is a resounding "no"... but we'll get something incredible in its place.
Notable Tracks (4 here, but they're so good I recommend giving each a try):