The Contortionist

The Contortionist represents fearlessness in musical expression, designed to please artist as much as audience. This band makes progressive metal music, anchored in the heavy sounds that first drew the individual players to the stage, yet unmoored by convention or expectation.

On Clairvoyant, the band’s distinctive fingerprints remain, even as their atmospheric flourishes broaden to encompass ever-richer textures and mine the beauty of simplicity.

For the entirety of their career, The Contortionist has proven capable of being been equally at home on tour with Deftones, Periphery, or Between The Buried And Me, thanks to their dynamic combination of metal’s blunt precision with the adventurous spirit of prog-rock heroes like Rush and King Crimson. The Contortionist integrates seemingly disparate worlds to create their own sound, with a focus on tone, vibe, color, and atmosphere.

The band’s first two records, Exoplanet (2010) and Intrinsic (2012), are monstrously heavy,though no less ambitious than their newer and more expansive creative declarations. The character of The Contortionist’s sound expanded greatly with Language, the 2014 monolithic album that introduced the band’s current lineup of vocalist Michael Lessard, keyboardist Eric Guenther, and bassist Jordan Eberhardt alongside co-founding members Cameron Maynard (guitar) and brothers Robby Baca (guitar) and Joey Baca (drums). In it’s 5/5 review, Substream praised the album as being akin to “a journey through a dream state.” Prog Metal Zone was similarly kind, awarding the album 10/10 and remarking on its propulsive drum rhythms, ambient keyboards, fusion, and “astonishingly inventive flight(s) of musicality.”

Clairvoyant, which reunited the band with producer Jamie King (Between The Buried And Me, Through The Eyes Of The Dead), takes the best elements of The Contortionist’s past and reshapes them as the band follows their individual creative muses toward the future.

The Contortionist ultimately prove to have as much in common with the psychedelic experimentation of later Opeth or Tool and even the textured melodicism of Sigur Ros as they do technical heavy music, but they’ve never sacrificed urgent impact. Critics and fans admire their intelligent approach to the crushing riffs of tech-metal, which becomes more vibrant with elements of ambitious post rock and jazzy / fusion-infused virtuosity. Even when angular riffs, odd time signatures, and devastating breakdowns give way to hypnotic,ethereal, and trancelike musical meditations, The Contortionist are never lacking in total power.

In whatever The Contortionist endeavors to do, there will always be a great amount of thought, attention to detail, and shared love of musicality. They have committed to never surrender to the path of least resistance, always challenging themselves and their audience.

This is art for art’s sake. The Contortionist ease through the doors of perception with grace where possible and smash through the boundaries with absolute force when necessary.

Transcontinental metallers MONUMENTS have come a long way since starting as a side project of John Browne (guitars; Fellsilent) and Josh Travis (guitars; The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza). From a surprise appearance on BBC Radio 1 to debut full-length, "Gnosis"", the group immediately found a fanatic audience. Praised for their brainy yet song-oriented approach to heavy music, MONUMENTS bridged the progressive metal gap like few before. On one side they challenged. "Gnosis"" was full of mind-bending, betcha-can't-play-this-type passages. On the other side, fans deeply connected to hook-laden songs like "97% Static" and "Empty Vessels".

Fast forward two productive years later and MONUMENTS - now with Chris Barretto (ex-Periphery, Ever Forthright) on vocals - have grown tremendously. While they're still way into instrumental gymnastics and impressing fans with their musical prowess, they've really honed in on writing huge, impossibly memorable songs for new album, "The Amanuensis". Like bigger, badder, and even more epic-than-before type stuff. If "97% Static" and "Empty Vessels" stuck to the brain, new songs like "I, Creator", "The Alchemist", and "Origin of Escape" hit the head, body, and mind hard. "I really like the chorus of 'The Alchemist'," guitarist John Browne smiles. "It's really simplistic, but I think that part will sound big and open when we play it live. I also dig the ending of 'I, The Destroyer'. I can't really focus on one part or song. All of the songs I'm happy with how they all turned out."

"The Amanuensis" is a complete experience, actually. Even Browne's mom is impressed: "I know my mum will blast this out of her car like she did with 'Gnosis'. She loves groove."

If one thing's certain about MONUMENTS and Browne in 2014 they're keen to move away from needless classification with "The Amanuensis". They're specifically referring to their tenuous association with the djent movement. "Music is music," Browne says. "It has the same 12 notes as any other music. The only difference is the way it's expressed, so we use pretty silly words to try and explain the sound. The word 'djent' makes no sense whatsoever to describe a genre. The tone that it references isn't really utilized by many bands that are classed as it. I feel progressive metal is a much better reference to our music, with a huge dose of groove."

"The Amanuensis", at least the title, was inspired by author David Mitchell's novel, "Cloud Atlas". The complex story lines are the perfect analog for MONUMENTS. Musically, the group weave in and out of themes, motifs, and professor-like note calculations with graceful ease. But lyrically "The Amanuensis" comes from a very different place. "The album is about the Samsara cycle," reveals Browne. "The cyclical existence of life that we are all bound to. Chris has written an entire story around the lyrics. Maybe that will see the light one day! It's the story of Samsara."

Recorded at Monnow Valley Studio (Black Sabbath, Rush, Led Zeppelin) in Wales, Audiohammer Studios (The Black Dahlia Murder, The Contortionist) in Florida, and Browne's own studio Bear Noize Studio in England, "The Amanuensis" is powerful and clear. A resolute sonic statement. But the group's sophomore album is also the most stripped down production in MONUMENTS' history. By design the drum triggers and studio trickery are gone. "Metal has lost the 'live' element of production," Browne admits. "All bands sound too perfect. And albums aren't really a true representation of what the bands actually sound like in a live setting. We wanted to give everyone what we actually sound like, with us actually playing the instruments. The final result is great!"
With a new vocalist - Browne calls Barretto "A musician. It's really easy to bounce ideas off of him." - and a new album in "The Amanuensis", MONUMENTS are taking progressive metal to the next level. The group's ardent fanbase are sure to adore "Atlas", "Garden of Sankhara", and massively cool "Quasimodo". "Hopefully they feel like they had the journey that was intended. It's a pretty relentless record, but with some huge vocal hooks. We're hoping this album will get stuck in peoples' heads. It was a lot of fun to write."

After the release of "The Amanuensis" – Monuments toured heavily across the globe playing over 200 shows in 2014-2015, performing alongside international heavyweights such as Protest The Hero, Animals As Leaders, After The Burial, Karnivool and Devin Townsend.

In summer 2015- Anup Sastry (ex-Skyharbor, Intervals, Jeff Loomis) joined as full time drummer after Mike Malyan's departure.

Monuments are currently working on their 3rd album – to be released in late 2016 thru Century Media Records, and are confirmed for numerous European festivals such as Wacken Open Air, With Full Force and Graspop.

Entheos

Technical/progressive death metal band based in the US.

sleepmakeswaves

we write love songs about delay pedals.

Artifacts

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