Contrarian – Their Worm Never Dies (Willowtip)Wednesday, 6th March 2019
Proof that not every ‘technical death metal band’ has to go for the modern approach, Contrarian have been making their marks in the more progressive waters of Death, Atheist, and Cynic for 5 years now. The selling pitch ultimately regards drummer/vocalist George Kollias (of Nile and others), but that would sell the rest of the band short. As their third album, Their Worm Never Dies locks Contrarian in as one of the genre’s stronger unsung heroes.
A mixture of all things deathly, some progressive and melodic influences, and even some jazzy moments make up the bulk of Their Worm Never Dies. A taste of thrash here and there as well, but this is pretty firmly steeped in the death metal of the early ‘90s. It’s complex in its riffing structure and features some well-done fretless bass, but the listener can still process everything that’s going on at any given moment. Kollias’ drumming is on point, as predicted, and his vocals go for the raspier variety instead of the usual lower barks/gurgles and makes it less monotone. The ratio of hard-hitting and direct death metal to the more intricate segments is solid, but the thing that stands out is really how the riffs, regardless of their intentions, keep fun in the forefront. Closer “Whomsoever Worships the Whiteworm” is full of riffing that will cause an immediate fist to rise in the air and keeps them there for much of the 8-minute runtime (sans the proggy/jazzy sections, which invoke a different sense of pleasure). Some melodic openings (“Exorcism” or “The Misled”) entice before rushing ahead into more deadly territory, and help to keep things fresh, alongside the more progressive title track.
Short and sweet in its runtime, Their Worm Never Dies has all of the great songwriting required for this type of material but doesn’t go on excessively. Everything is tight-knit and intriguing, even with some of the thinly veiled references to the bands listed above. All around good stuff for Contrarian.