Saturday, 23 March 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Contrarian, "Their Worm Never Dies"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 15/03/2019
Label: Willowtip Records

if you miss latter day Death, feast your ears on Atheist or love the Cynic debut then this will be music to your ears, because this is impressive stuff.

“Their Worm Never Dies” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1). Vaskania (The Evil Eye)
2. Exorcism
3. My Curse
4. The Petition
5. Among The Misled
6. Their Worm Never Dies
7. Whomsoever Worships the Whiteworm

The Review:

Technical and progressive death metal is surely an acquired taste- particularly when it comes with the jazzy inflections that bands such as Contrarian deliver by the bucketload. I reviewed the debut “Polemic” back in 2015, but I missed their sophomore effort, “To Perceive Is To Suffer”

So, what have the Rochester, New York, based outfit come up with this time around? Well, it once again references the past greats of the niche genre; latter day Death and Cynic are both in there. Naturally, George Kollias being behind the kit is a huge draw for many DM heads anyway. However, this is no Nile re-tread as he plays technical and jazzy; he's using brushes at the start of “Exorcism” for satan's sake! The sound is pretty great- quite spacious and not too slick. In fact, there is audible hiss and an almost demo like quality to the sound. It's not compressed beyond believe and it sounds authentic, old school and “real” in a way that albums made on pro tools grids alone do not. The drum sound may take a little getting used to, but that is for the listener to decide on. Don't expect boxy and muted sounds... but don't expect zero triggers either!

As the record progresses, it's clear that a fan of the first album will like this one; the leads that open “My Curse” are great, the vocals are another selling point; closer to Schuldiner than Corpsegrinder and they help by dialling down the brutality- this is not hyper-aggressive stuff. The riff passages are excellent and the clean intro of “The Petition” segues perfectly into some mesmerising riffage.

The progressive riffing of “Among The Misled” coupled with the off kilter rhythms does a great job of making the listener pay attention (cracking bass work, too). The title track is three minutes of melancholy vibes and keen lead work- an unexpected twist in the album's tale. The closing eight minutes of “Whomsoever Worships The Whiteworm” is the most extreme track on here, in terms of structure, delivery and sounds. The bass is super dexterous the time changes come thick and fast and the playing is sublime. 

To sum up, then, this third album is a highly credible slice of technical and progressive death metal. This is for all fans of any of the bands mentioned here in comparative terms. Just like the debut, if you miss latter day Death, feast your ears on Atheist or love the Cynic debut then this will be music to your ears. Impressive stuff. 

“Their Worm Never Dies” is available HERE

Band info: bandcamp || facebook