Contrarian continues its journey.
Active since 2014, the North American band composed today of Jim Tasikas (guitar, Delirium Endeavor, ex-Manic), Ed Paulsen (bass, Delirium Endeavor, ex-Manic), Brian Mason (guitar, Sulaco), Alex Cohen (drums, Reincremated, ex-Imperial Triumphant, ex-Pyrexia) and Jakob Sin (vocals, Psykotribe) counts us today its Progressive Death Metal with Sage of Shekhinah, its fifth album.
Sage of Shekhinah, the first track, opens the album with the help of Michael Paouris and his bouzouki, creating a crazy acceleration before unleashing all the strength of furious Death Metal, while coupling it with their complex and jerky approach. Screaming leads and howlings come together on an as explosive as unpredictable rhythmic, before giving way to the bouzouki again before In Gehenna unveils its soaring sounds, perfectly fitting the frantic atmosphere. We also have softer parts, especially on bass which create a catchy contrast with the more raw and aggressive sounds, just like on Ibn al Rawandi which lets an enchanting introduction prepare the ground for the dissonant and saturated riffs. Complexity and multiple influences meet fury and quietness again, letting the track lead us to Guide for the Perplexed and its high level contrast hit us between massive Old School sounds and rhythmic Prog patterns, but the track is short, and it quickly throws us into Zabur of Satfiyah al Shamal, a rawer track. The band is still fast to fill its riffs with jerky and worked elements between two aggressive parts, letting the two worlds collide before Apollonius of Tyana brings them together again to let them express and answer each other, accompanied by Jack Eaton (The Last King, Köttgrav) on bass. Leads’ dissonance skillfully links them before separating them to let Jazz influences haunt the double kick, then Madman From Island Patmos offers us a slight moment of respite before closing the album with this melting of which the band has the secret, mixing in an as chaotic as polished way all their influences, violent or softer.
If you are a musician, you can only admire Contrarian‘s mastery. As usual, the band knows how to mix their different influences, complementary or not, to make Sage of Shekhinah an extremely rich and complex album despite its length.