The Internal Dialogue
This internal dialogue just doesn't speak of anything new
Contrive are a groovecore band from Australia formed between twin brothers of metal fame Paul and Andrew Haug. Both originally from separate bands, they took their creativity and combined it with Tim Stahlmann to try and make Contrive as exciting as possible. However, they just took the usual mediocre metalcore/groove metal formula and haven't really done anything new with it. On their latest album, The Internal Dialogue, there is plenty of crunch riffs with the bass on overdrive for groove emphasis. The vocals are mostly emotionless screams that just sound like the vocalist is screaming for the sake of screaming. Some of Contrive's best work comes from their melodic guitar lines, not from the heavier metal parts.
Tracks like "Is This all the Way" and "Confusions Way" just sound like mediocre metalcore music. However, after a while the band becomes more instrumental and starts creating more interesting, progressive melodies. "Spirits Alive" is the only track to feature decent vocals that are clean sung amongst distorted melodies, but this distortion adds an echo feature that is similar to how Burton C. Bell of Fear Factory sings, so that is a plus. From this point on, the vocals almost completely stop and it is just instrumentals. "Hope" is a decent hard rock tune with spoken word samples that mostly could have just been left out. "The Internal Dialogue" is another soft track with the clean singing again, and it still sounds excellent. While this isn't really metalcore or groovecore, the sheer melodic intent of the track with the soft percussion in the background is very enjoyable. Finally, "The Lessening of Life" features abominable screaming, but the guitar melodies and progressive moments make it a forgivable listen. The metalcore riffs are actually catchy for once this time!
Unfortunately, Contrive doesn't really hit the mark with their latest album. Yet, there is still some good to come out of it. It is obvious that the clean vocals work better than the harsher ones, and the groovecore elements are good when they are mixed in with melodies. Contrive would do very well to take the best of this album and turn it into something better by making the music a lot more melodic while forsaking the metalcore formula that ruins their musical image by holding them back. From the second half of the album they have already proved to fans they can do a lot better than what they've done on The Internal Dialogue; all they need to do is take the initiative.