Album Reviews : Contrive – The Internal Dialogue
I don’t know what it is that has made Contrive to be one of the most disliked band’s in the local scene, but its become clear that these guys don’t give up without a fight. The Internal Dialogue is by no means a masterpiece, but it does showcase what a band with relatively no money, or world wide exposure can do with just a pure love for music and a devoted, yet small fan base.
The latest release borders on an influence of latter Nirvana material, progressive metal with hints of influence from The Haunted and various other groove metal bands. The album seems to hold a much more personal message than their previous release, The Meaning Unseen. This time round the brothers Haug (Paul and Andrew), along with bassist Tim Stahlmann have explored more spiritual and political avenues, giving us more diverse lyrical concepts as songs like Both Side, All Lies and This Is The Way? play out like Tool material circa 1993, with its subtle ambiance and melodic undertones, overlapped with heavy riffs and aggressive vocals. I guess that would be the best way to describe Contrive’s music to a general demographic, as it has a similar comparison to Tool, albeit not as mind bending or complex in its execution.
There are moments of “generic” heaviness to fill in the gaps. They fit quite well, but at times it does feel a little bland. The progressive elements are the more dominating aspect of the album which is what I like. Vocally, Paul Haug has chosen a more subtle side, leaving most of the aggressive vocals on the back burner, yet do pop up from time to time. At times I felt Paul Haug was literally screaming his tits off, which sadly ruined some of my listening experience. Paul’s hard rock vocals however, fit amazingly well in tracks like The Internal Dialogue, yet I feel his aggressive vocals are forced at times and don’t sound natural.
The influence of Devin Townsend as producer really shines throughout the album, moreso with tracks like Hope which is a ambient instrumental overdubbed with political and spiritual references with samples of outspoken political activist and American talk back radio host, Alex Jones. I really enjoyed this track. You really get the sense that Contrive are not only pushing the boundaries of their music, but also of their minds. Lessening Life is another prime example of Devin Townsend’s influence over the band as the opening riff is similar to that of albums like Terria and Accelerated Evolution. As you progress through the song, you get a much more heavily derived progressive feel as it sways from heavy to melodic.
There were times when I felt that the album was lacking, but as an all round album I believe Contrive have executed an amazing delivery of eight solid tracks with an abundance of diversity.
This album certainly isn’t for everyone. Fans of free thinking bands like Tool and Devin Townsend Band, you’ll really appreciate not only the diversity of Contrive’s new album, but also its complexity thanks to the mastermind producer that is, Devin Townsend. Proceed with caution if you have never heard the band before. They’re more a “thinking man’s” band, rather than an “everyman’s” band. 7/10
Album: The Internal Dialogue
Genre: Progressive Metal
Origin: Melbourne, Australia
Label: MGM Distribution
1. Is This The Way?
2. Both Sides All Lies <- Reviewer’s choice
3. This Time Last Week
4. Spirits Alive
5. Hope <- Reviewer’s choice
6. Confusions Way
7. The Internal Dialogue <- Reviewer’s choice
8. Lessening Life