Slow Dissolve - Contrive
Album: Slow Dissolve
Release Date: September 1st 2017
Review by Steve Jenkins
It's been 7 years since we last saw Contrive release an album, so when the anticipation for a new release is so high, it can at times either be a blessing or a curse. Contrive seem to have moved forward towards a new direction and it works well in their favour. Taking their already established sound and making a monumental metal release that see new ideas and many different influences mixed together. Slow Dissolve is a re-energized composition of razor sharp metal from brothers Paul and Andrew Haug.
The album opens with a melodic and almost haunting track called "Connect-Dead" which could easily fall into place on a Fear Factory album such Demanufacture. It's progressive, industrial and raw sound is a brilliant opener that is driven with solid guitar riffs and rhythmic drumming, with powerful yet smooth vocals layered on top. But by no means are Contrive here to imitate, they're here to obliterate and showcase their true talents they posses. The material continues to shift gears throughout the album, not really sticking with one particular genre or stereotype, but that just creates diversity and makes for each track sounding different and unique. There are elements on Slow Dissolve that offer a liberal dose of electronic effects and those that meet some old school metal crunch via surging riffs and punishing drums. Contrive have indeed shifted into a more progressive sound on this album, but it definitely shouldn't be taken with caution, instead it should be embraced and enjoyed what it is, a magnificent collection of intuitive, transcending, heavy metal.
The production on Slow Dissolve is fantastic, with the dynamic duo of the mighty Haug brothers taking the recording and producing into their own hands, leaving the mix in the capable hands of Mike and Dave Young over in Vancouver, Canada. Dave Young might be better known as the guitarist for The Devin Townsend Project and what they've done is added a very smooth but multi-layered sound that never leaves a dull moment on the album. It has moments that you can go back to and listen to later, discovering new things and new sounds, something where you can listen to the album in full from start to finish and not want to skip to the next song because you're bored. That doesn't happen here.
The most compelling aspect of Slow Dissolve is in how well it flows. Contrive have shifted focus for a more cohesive offering. Make no mistake, while sprawling and volatile, the brothers sound impressively focused here. The dynamic presence plays a crucial role, as grandiose progressive rock will gracefully transition to a softer, ethereal soundscape flawlessly. These changes ebb and flow throughout the record, paying no mind to the individual song transitions themselves.
The instrumental performances are outstanding and memorable, with each members contributions feeling crucial and important. It’s a true musical adventure and the diversity on this record is crucial to replaying it over and over again. The inspiration, drive, and chops are still top notch despite moving slightly away from their more heavier sound. But their brand of genre-bending progressive music that they've created on Slow Dissolve is truly something to behold.
The band have just launched a new merch store at http://contrive.bigcartel.com/products where several bundle options are now available.
Watch the official video for the track 'Connect-Dead' below: