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Forgotten Ariel's Chants - 98%

Tlacaxipehualiztli, September 5th, 2013

This is the best album in the death/grind genre that Czech Republic can offer till then. It consists of ten tracks of musical madness with some experimental touch of unexpected using of samples and programming. Although the entirety shocks since the first seconds quite bashfully, the final mark is almost maximal. My first meeting with them was completely normal, seeing Contrastic on the stage many years ago. Then they made a splash: typical guys, non-metal wears, cut off hair. But I was totally surprised when they started to unleash their sounds. That was really amazing as they crushed all the competition (Behemoth, Dark Funeral and so on…). And that is when I became their supporter…

Their debut album has a really good production. The sound is vivid and aggressive, each instrument is audible and to put it briefly, I’m surprised a bit. But the most important thing: these Czechs can play. In addition, they are very talented beasts and have really individual approach to musical content which includes many weird, astounding moments. The music flows very freely and naturally, without hindrance, it seems that musicians have a big fun while composing and performing the sounds. Even if the band is a representative of more brutal metal music, still I can feel a commercial (?!) touch over here. I’m not writing about putting Contrastic into MTV shitty web, as they have nothing to do with soulless sweet melodies. Just let’s take “Sex with Four Walls” opened by funky guitar theme which turns into a portion of straightforward catchy group of riffs. Melodic death metal? Not quite, because it’s served in more brutal and thoroughgoing way than Gothenburg style for instance. And what is interesting, Polu, the guitarist, played very memorable solo lead here. Anyway, all the guitar leads on the album are worth the trouble, even if they are hard to digest for some fans of the death/grind genre due to startling catchiness. Moreover, one lead in the last track “About…” I can call as beautiful… That’s really crazy!

The band offers the tracks with totally different time spread, from half-minute “I Feel Dislike” to almost nine minutes of “About…”. The musical layer is dominated by ruthless tempo, the guitar riffs wall and devastating rhythm section effectively destroy everything on its way. Contrastic doesn’t offer any complicated structures, yet they smartly include a rhythm changes that don’t disturb the overall impression. There is a need to mention about samples and programming too. Even if I’m not a worshipper of keyboards and such stuff in metal music, it is served in a good way here. Maybe only the first track with almost industrial touch isn’t as good as other efforts, but listen to track number eight (with the longest title), laden with such strange samples/noises and fantastic guitar work. Also “Chopin’s Ulcerous Colic” is worthy of mention due to piano-like sounds among the guitar hurricane and blast beats. Ha, Frederick is turning in his grave! Not only because of musical performance. Putti vo-kills ravage beyond the shadow of a doubt! This guy is incredible, as he proposes many kinds of ‘singing’, from whispers, groans to normal, clean vocal forms and the most deep guttural voices that I have ever heard. All these Putti offerings make the album better and better. A great supplement to the music indeed.

To cut it short: this album is a really superb piece of devastating form of art. With a sense of humor (but with no stupidity) and fine front cover (my daughter loves it, cause it shows the famous hero from Walt Disney world!). The music is arranged in a perfect way, it is very coherent, played on the loose, however still it’s 100% metal release. At that time the album was so much different from the rest of the scene, as they are open minded for various musical directions still kept in metal frame. This individuality and unquestionable talent pumped a new blood into death/grind circle. The musicians showed a noticeable progress in composing, though their previous split with Ingrowing is also pretty memorable exhalement. They released another split with other Czech hordes through Relapse Records, but Contrastic has died eftsoon. Fortunately 2012 year brought some great news, because the musicians decided to attack the scene once again. And they plan to record new songs this year. I hope it will be worthy of such long waiting. They deserve all praises. Thus don’t wait up for another ‘star’ from a famous label and check Contrastic out, the music with a real class.

Sandals 4eva, OK? - 100%

kojot1974, December 16th, 2007

It might come across as slightly patronizing but I want to say I adore Czechs. Most of my compatriots see them as fuddy-duddy surrender monkeys but who cares. How can you not love the nation, when even their nazi skinheads wear sandals and see the funny side. Most of contemporary Czech cinematography and literature illustrate what greatness you can achieve if you are capable of some auto-irony now and again. Now this was an understatement – everything Czechs do seems to have a strong underlayer of self-deprecation.

But I was supposed to talk about Contrastic’s self-titled album, right? I have already kinda started. I suppose it would have been impossible to create something so jaw-dropping without the aforementioned national trait. We, the Polish, boast our Vader, Behemoth, Decapitated, et consortes, who, adequate as they are, have never come close enough to breaking the mould. Czechs have splendid experimenting bands who in turn will probably never get the recognition they deserve just because metal fans are by and large conservative and don’t like things they have never heard before.

To put it simply – I’m seriously in awe of Contrasic. What they came up with here is so eclectic and yet so beatifully cohesive. Although at the end of the day they might still be referred to as a brutal death / grind ensemble, the number of infusions of different genres is difficult to name. The first track has for example a strong industrial vibe to it. The third one starts with a funky guitar hook followed by a riff that wouldn’t be out of place in a melodic death metal anthem, followed by… Oh, let’s just give it a rest. Sufice to say, in this track, as well as in many others, there is a rapid succession of motifs that, while they seem incongruous on paper, work surprisingly well together in real terms. There is a strong spirit of post-modern defiance permeating the whole album. Take track five, ‘Chopin’s ulcerous colic’, for example. It is a one-minute goregrind chop with a piano playing the lead in unison with the guitars. Normally I deplore things like that but here it doesn’t seem like a cheap trick. It is as organic as the saxophone employed by Pan-Thy-Monium, to give you some idea. Otherwise, you also have some looped indie-influenced licks, some straighforward old-school punky grind, a cowbell put to great use on several ocassions and some really good varied vocals. Soundwise, it’s good news mainly. My personal favourite is the sound of the snaredrum, well to the fore, which brings early Brutal Truth to mind.

Why can’t we have bands like that in Poland? Is it because we are so stiflingly conservative and so up our own buttholes? Seems so. I think Czechs are so great because they do their thing and don’t care for kudos as much as we do.

Metalheads of other nationalities needn’t care about all that. Just get the Contrastic’s album and see what I mean.

The Czech Republic Is My Personal God - 100%

MutatisMutandis, September 23rd, 2005

The Czech Republic’s grind and goregrind industry is 120 times better than any other in the world. For years, this little country has released album after album of baffling, technical, original, and brilliant grindcore, most of which I own already. From the swaying melodies of Lykathea Aflame, the chuggy old school feel of Reek Of Shits, the insanely well calculated blasting of Alienation Mental, Purulent Spermcanal’s goofy, smoked out sense of humor, !T.O.O.H.!’s prog-grind oddities, and Ahumado Granujo’s mix of techno, legos, pornography, and goregrind, I can only assume there is something in the water. How can one area produce so much greatness without wearing thin once in a while? HOW?

But anyway, here we have another band to add to the ever-growing list: Contrastic. What really drew me to this band was not the music, as I’d never heard of them prior to that moment, but the cover art. The Little Mermaid? That’s freaking amazing. I knew I had to have this once I saw it’s origin, and picked it up online in a matter of seconds. Did I regret it? NO! I never regret a purchase! But seriously, this is some great stuff. I mean, really great.

Contrastic play a very strange, unclassifiable genre, fusing technical neo-grind with hardcore punk, techno, refreshing melodies, and bizzare fills and interludes. The production is a little rough sometimes due to the distortion, but that sits well with me, as this band’s talent shines through incredibly well. Four vocal styles are present here, from the standard growls, the hardcore yells, screeches, and well placed pitch shifting, making sure the sound stays fresh and as interesting as the first time you hear it. The length, which is always an important factor, is just under 30 minutes, so there really is no time for rehashing riffs or half hearted solos. In a way, it’s similar to Fuck...I’m Dead, Assuck, and XXX Maniak. Not musically, but because it’s over before you know it, but you feel like you’ve had a very fulfilling listen.

I’ve listened to this album about 17 times in the two months I’ve had it, (which should tell you something) so what are you waiting for? If you’re an established fan of the Czech scene, this is a very worthy purchase. Heck, even if you don’t love grind, you’ll probably find something of interest here. Contrastic is a great band, and I eagerly await there sophomore release. By the way, I suggest you use the list found in paragraph one as a shopping list.