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The Contortionist Vocalist/Keyboardist Jonathan Carpenter: 5 Albums That Changed My Life

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Indiana tech-metal specialists The Contortionist recently dropkicked us with Intrinsic, their sophomore album. For the album, the quintet collaborated with Eyal Levi (Daath, Job for a Cowboy) and Jason Suecof (Trivium, DevilDriver), a musical marriage that has clearly paid off dividends. The 10-song collection hasn’t left Noisecreep’s office playlist since it was released last month (July 17).

Channeling the progressive spirit of bands like Meshuggah and Spiral Architect with the melodic sensibilities that make each of their songs instantly memorable, The Contortionist are undoubtedly one of modern metal’s most exciting acts.

Noisecreep asked The Contortionist vocalist/keyboardist to take part in Noisecreep’s ongoing ‘Five Albums That Changed My Life’ series.

Metallica, Metallica (1991)

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“One moment in my musical career stands out very clearly, even to this day. I (probably about 12 or 13) was in my room and overheard a very catchy yet very heavy sounding riff from my sister’s room down the hall. I borrowed her copy and was obsessed with it for year(along with most of their previous work). Between the epic opening of “Sad But True” and the haunting melody of “The Unforgiven,” this was absolutely the first time I had found something that spoke to me and pushed me to pursue music so hard.”

Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes From a Memory, Dream Theater (1999)

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“Freshman year of high school, I was introduced to Dream Theater by some older friends of mine. At first I didn’t get it. I heard Awake on cassette tape and wasn’t completely sure what I was hearing. Then after jamming “The Glass Prison” in a car, I found out how much John Petrucci‘s riffs and Mike Portnoy‘s grooves spoke to me. Their use of odd time signatures and all out shred inspired me to pick up guitar (I had been playing bass for 5 years) and pursue my own band and music. I had never experienced an album that was written so conceptually but still had so many defined and memorable moments.”

Lateralus, Tool (2001)

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Tool is one of those really sick bands that came off as a more mainstream act to me at first, but clearly stood above the rest of their radio rock peers. Once I dove into a few of their albums, Lateralus was my favorite because of the lyrics and the mood set by songs like “The Patient” and “Ticks and Leeches.” I loved how the whole album seemed to flow into itself. I often found myself just letting it repeat from track 1 after I finished it. Another impressive aspect of this album is the mix and how dynamic it is. Within a few seconds, clean chorused guitar transitions into pounding crunchy rhythms while a mind boggling drum groove is set.”

Drawn From Life, Brian Eno & J. Peter Schwalm (2001)

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“Sexiness. That’s what this album oozes to me. Mr. Eno’s work stretches all the way back to the ’70s and he has worked with many genres and many talents. But I find that his ambient, often more electronic tunes catch me in a trance. Obvious favorites like “Persis” and “Night Traffic” contain subtle overlapping rhythms and melodies. It’s easy to get lost in these progressions, cause he seamlessly integrates a wide range of sounds while mixing in non-musical sounds like a child’s voice or transient hits that create depth and surprise.”

Nothing, Meshuggah (2002)

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“In my humble opinion, I just can’t see how any band has ever been or ever will be AS heavy as Meshuggah Maybe it’s the hard compressed drum tones, or the sub-sonic tuning…? What sticks out to me in their 2002 release Nothing is the unrelenting song writing that puts the focus on the polyrhythms and long winded riffing. But just when you think you have a part down, they throw it a completely new direction. The grooviest of the groovy “Nebulous” will no doubt send my neck into a spasm every time. But a song like “Obsidian” proves their unconventional song writing and mathematical prowess can just shatter my expectations on what a song must consist of.”

Watch The Contortionist’s ‘Causality’ Video
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The Contortionist’s new album, Intrinsic, is available now via iTunes and Amazon.

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