Reviewed: July 2019
Released: March 15th, 2019, Willowtip Records
Reviewer: James Swandale
Rochester progressive death metallers Contrarian return with their third outing, a concept album about a cursed man and a legendary dragon who could prove to be his saviour or tormentor. Fronted by guitarist Jim Tasikas and George Kollias doubling up on drums and vocals, Their Worm Never Dies is an excellent dive in to a unique, melodically complex modern death metal album.
The array of musicianship is apparent from the get go with the opening track, Vaskania (The Evil Eye), setting up much of what is to come in the rest of the album, a smattering of technicality mixed between frequently changing time signatures and chugging power riffs. The structure of the song, and indeed the whole album, has a very free-form approach to it, which is not unexpected given how jazzy the album becomes in places.
Ed Paulsen’s noodling bass pairs really well with Jim Tasikas and Brian Mason’s flurry of guitar cutting through in a lot of places, adding much of the progressive elements to tracks. All three guitars mix really well with each musician being given room to highlight their playing.
George Kollias puts on an equally excellent display, with his brilliant drumming abound on the album, before adding in his blackened vocals, which are standout across every song. Alas I’ve not been privy to the official lyrics for the album but from what I’ve noted so far the plot follows the previously mentioned concept, and I’m looking forward to hopefully seeing some lyrics that I can dig in to at a later date.
Despite its proggy, jazzy influence, a couple of the songs in the middle of the album do fall in to a trap of sounding somewhat repetitive. However I believe this might just be because my ears aren’t trained well enough to process all the complexities this album has to offer.
Things slow down a little with the titular sixth track “Their Worm Never Dies”. I’m a big fan of this mostly instrumental interlude from the faster tracks on the rest of the album, while the end of the song does pick up the pace, it’s of a unique style, much more prog orientated than the more free-form of the rest of the album. This leads in to my personal favourite, “Whomsoever Worships The Whiteworm”, a fantastic 8 minute epic that rounds out the end of the album, almost turning ballad-like in places.
The entire album has a feel of an old 90s prog death album, with some great stand out songs. While a few tracks don’t quite hit the mark for me, sometimes becoming lost in the sea of sweeping guitar riffs, as a whole this is a very solid album and one that I’m very happy to have in my library.
1. Vaskania (The Evil Eye)
3. My Curse
4. The Petition
5. Among the Misled
6. Their Worm Never Dies
7. Whomsoever Worships the Whiteworm
Jim Tasikas – Guitars
Brian Mason – Lead Guitars
Ed Paulsen – Bass
George Kollias – Drums/Vocals
Additional Backing Vocals by George Bokos