Contrarian – Only Time Will Tell (Review)

Contrarian - Only Time Will TellContrarian are a progressive/technical death metal band from the US and this is their fourth album.

I wasn’t expecting a follow up to last year’s Their Worm Never Dies so soon, but I’m not complaining. Along with 2015’s Polemic and 2017’s To Perceive Is to Suffer, I’ve really enjoyed all of Contrarian’s material so far.

Only Time Will Tell contains 35 minutes of old-school progressive death metal that’s mixed with some more modern elements. This is well-crafted music that’s primarily influenced by the 90s era and delivered with a concept-driven theme. Death are the obvious comparison for a band like Contrarian, but there’s more here than just Death-worship. Combine this with more modern elements, (a band like Obscura, for example), and you’ll have a good idea of what Contrarian sound like.

If you’re a fan of the band then the first thing you’ll probably notice is the change of singer; Contrarian have now returned to the vocalist that graced their debut album. This means that the higher pitched screams of the last two albums have been mostly replaced with deep growls. A range of vocal styles appear, however, including some unexpected ones here and there.

The drummer, (who provided the previous two album’s vocals), is absent, so there is a new drummer here, and he can certainly play, (he’s also from Lord Mantis). It’s not just the drumming which is stellar though, as all of the musicianship on Only Time Will Tell is of ridiculously high quality. Even More important is the band’s capacity to use their musical abilities for the greater good of the songs, rather than to just be flashy for the sake of it. Filled with technical catchiness, melodic colour, expressive riffs, wandering bass, and textured atmosphere, these tracks are very moreish and extremely satisfying.

I really like that Contrarian manage to be so creative and vibrant with what is essentially an old-school style. As long as the band continue to craft high quality albums such as this, I’ll keep listening to them and enjoying their work.

Very highly recommended.

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