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Contrarian – Only Time Will Tell

Only Time Will Tell
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 09 October 2020, 7:21 AM

CONTRARIAN is a progressive death metal band from Rochester, New York.  “Only Time Will Tell” is their fourth full length album and they have also released an EP.  I discovered them with their previous album, “Their Worm Never Dies,” and found their sound to be somewhat refreshing for the style. “Only Time Will Tell,” continues the trend of blending progressive structures with out of this world instrumental skills.  There are couple changes with this new album, however.  Vocalist Cody McConnel (who was previously on the “Polemic” album)  returns as front man.  Previous vocalist George Kiollias also drummed so now Bryce Butler handles the drums.

Their overall sound continues to remind me of the more progressive tendencies of DEATH, especially in the way they introduce and balance melodies in between the heavier parts.  However, they have their own sound and I can’t think of any band out there that sounds like CONTRARIAN.  What really sets band apart is how memorable their music is, which is in no small part because of the melodies and razor sharp guitar tone that just sticks out in the mind.

The bass sticks out extremely well and, thankfully, isn’t content on just playing what the guitars play.  The rapid fire riffs of opener, “In A Blink Of The Eye,” sound all the more intense due to the melodic bass that walks a different path—it simultaneously highlights the grit of the guitar while providing hooks that pull me in.  This song also displays how well the band is adept at using the rising action in a song to push it forward and come down just as strong.  The guitar solo at the song’s halfway point picks up extra notes as it twists and turns through its life, culminating into a great riff that is backed by exuberant drums.

The Final Hour,” showcases the duel melody style of interplay between guitar and bass in the track’s opening moments.  The transition of this melodic chaos into the guitar solo is clever and extremely smooth, two aspects the song does so well. As the last echo of distortion fades out, the song continues with clean notes and whispered vocals.

Scarlet Babylon,” is one of the band’s best songs to date.  The bass helps carry the melody of the song but its the riffs that work in tandem with the vocals that bring out the death metal elements among the more progressive structures.  The last minute and a half of the songs finds the guitars and bass once again sharing center stage as the song fades out. The album’s “epic” is the final track, “Your Days Are Numbered.”  The lead guitar stuffs the song full, throwing out harmonies and melodies into every available nook and cranny.  The atmosphere is one of urgency, brought to life through the drums and bass.  Some of the guitars have a thrashy feel to them and it works well for the song’s energy.

CONTRARIAN’sOnly Time Will Tell,” is another fine example how prog, tech, and death metal can be brought together seamlessly enough where not any one element over takes the action but instead provides a very adventurous yet cohesive experience.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. In A Blink Of An Eye
2. The Final Hour
3. Beat The Clock
4. Case Closed
5. The Mega Metropolis
6. Scarlet Babylon
7. Only Time Will Tell
8. Your Days Are Numbered
Bill Bodily – Bass, Chapman stick
Cody McConnell – Vocals
Jim Tasikas – Guitars, Keyboards
Brian Mason – Guitars, Lap Steel Guitar
Bryce Butler - Drums
Record Label: Willowtip Records


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