Contrarian are a personal favourite of mine in the realms of progressive/technical death metal. Bridging the old-school and the new by taking strengths from both, their albums – and new platter Their Worm Never Dies in particular – are very much worth your time.
Guitarist Jim Tasikas tells us more…
Introduce us to Contrarian
Contrarian is a progressive and somewhat avant-garde death metal band. Jim Tasikas and Brian Mason on Guitars. Ed Paulsen on Bass and George Kollias on drums/vocals. Over the past few albums we have been attempting to fill the gap that exists, in our opinion, in between old school and new school progressive death metal by reasserting nuance, clever hooks and songwriting techniques.
What are your influences?
Iron Maiden, Fates Warning, King Diamond, Death, and many more!
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
Tell us about Their Worm Never Dies and its concept
The album is a fantasy concept that it is loosely based off the legends of an evil eye in Mediterranean cultures, the Anglo Saxon legend of the dragon whiteworm, and a spin from a quote Bible.
How were the songs written?
We send files and ideas back-and-forth after I’ve composed a framework for the songs. We are able to produce more mature songwriting this way I believe than just jamming it out.
How did you decide on the order of the tracks?
First I commission artwork that I have created in my head for the concept story. Then each song is written as if a chapter in a book. Each chapter/song has a mood based on what’s going on in it.
Speaking of, tell us about the album artwork and how it relates to the lyrics?
We really wanted to get away from the modern approach to album concepts and lyrics. We really wanted to dive in headfirst with the fantasy concepts. Mainly in the style of older bands like Iron Maiden and King Diamond which used fantasy and history to make really interesting songs. And Contrarian in fashion, the songs are littered with questions of philosophy and theology.
How important is good album art to you?
VERY important. As I stated before the album art is how we begin to write the music, the story. The album art is the prime mover which begins the creative process. The album art creates that fantasy story in which each song is a chapter.
Whomsoever Worships the Whiteworm is the longest song on any of your albums – how did this start to take shape and what made it necessary for you to break the eight-minute mark?
We were getting a lot of messages and comments saying that we really need to let loose and have a longer song – so that’s exactly what we did! We are really proud of that song, we were able to blend many styles , many hooks, and many melodies into a cohesive song. It is very moody and showcases the best of Contrarian we believe.
How would you compare this new album to your previous work?
I feel the songs are streamlined in a way, and also mixed in a way in that people who listen to Contrarian will appreciate. The previous album was mixed a little bit more avant-garde. This latest album, the songs are mixed a little bit more guitar-heavy, which I think is necessary for the listener in this type of guitar driven music
How do you think your experiences with creating Their Worm Never Dies will potentially shape your next release in the future?
You always learn something new when recording an album. We will take these experiences and use them to try and make a better and original album every time. We have actually started in on the new album and we’re very excited because it’s an awesome concept with some great ideas!
What are the next steps for Contrarian?
We have started the album art and the songs for our next album. We are super excited about this as we already have a lot of great songs ready to go. Not to mention that the album art is killer once again!
I can’t wait! Any final words?
Yes! Thank you to all our fans and internet groups and websites that have been supporting us! We go on tour in August in the north east in support of Pathology and Narcotic Wasteland. Please get out and see us!