Contrarian
Demos and Oddities 1995-1999

New York’s Contrarian has been an active contributor to the progressive death metal scene for quite some time now. Having released five full-length records through Willowtip Records Contrarian has decided to release an album of older material. What makes this release interesting is that all the tracks are instrumental. Founding members Jim Tasikas and Ed Paulsen have assembled seven tracks from demos that were recorded in between 1995-1999.

“Lost in Phase” opens things up the overall production is a bit raw as you would expect from material recorded in the late nineties. Most of the tracks on this range from four to six minutes. “Sine Wave Trails” is a bit more aggressive than the opening track. It sounds like there is not any multi-tracking of guitars. The advantage to this is you can hear clearly how locked in Paulsen and Tasikas are. Another aspect of the guitar sound is the guitars are in a clean tone with some occasional flange effects to spice things up. Unless you are a fan of Contrarian it might take a bit of patience to sit through all of this in one sitting. It is cool when bands do releases like this one. I think for those who like shorter tracks this may at times be a challenge to listen to.

At a little over thirty-five minutes this may be a bit challenging for listeners with a short attention span. If you are into bands like Cynic, Atheist, and Spastic Ink or Watchtower this may be right up your alley. If you are into shorter arrangements with non-instrumental tracks, then this might not be for you. Check out Contrarian’s other albums for context.

“Mosfet Tapestry” is one of my favorites of the bunch. Considering how stripped down this production there is a great deal to appreciate about the simplicity. If anything, it at times can appear to sound a little thin. To be fair, you got to start somewhere. Give this a shot if you are into checking out roots of this technical progressive tech death band. Enjoy.

 

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Nick K
September 6th, 2023

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