Prog-metal outfit THE CONTORTIONIST released Intrinsic, their sophomore album, today, and AP caught up with frontman Jonathan Carpenter for all the details. If you’re down for some otherworldly lyrics and complex guitarwork, check out an exclusive look at what Carpenter had to say about the making of the album and its overarching themes.

We wanted to open the album with something that represented the its  contrast. This song has a very steady pace and focuses on the melodic theme, making it one of the tamer songs on the record. Its lyrics are the description of the apparent holographic reality that we call “experience.”

“Feedback Loop”
The first part of this song is crazy heavy and the rest flows on out with a couple of repeated themes. This song is about someone becoming bored with a static existence, wishing the boundaries could be changed at will.

This is one of the two songs we’ve been playing out live for a few months. The keyboard theme at the beginning and end have a vibe reminiscent of [English guitar virtuoso] Allan Holdsworth. This one is about an obsession with lucidity in dreaming and astral movement that leads to a near-death experience.

“Sequential Vision”
This song has a more unconventional layout and a wide range of keyboard sounds. It discusses the mysterious seat of consciousness and the process of feelings becoming emotions.

“Geocentric Confusion”
This is one of the heaviest tracks on the record, and it was also among the first songs to be written. It’s about a weak mind that cannot find moral direction in self-produced logic, so it is forced to invent an all-powerful deity.

“Dreaming Schematics”
I think the sci-fi-inspired vocals really fit the scientific language in the opening lines. We’ve also been playing this live lately, and I find that it flows really nicely. The song talks about how scientific minds develop procedures to strengthen and multiply synaptic networks.

“Anatomy Anomalies”
This song is lighter in comparison to the rest of the album. The verse and chorus stay very melodic and groovy while saving the pounding rhythms for the end. This is about a neuro-prosthetic implant that maps out and redirects neuron flow between chosen nerve endings and the main cortical sites.

I consider this song to be one of the best-written songs on the album. It has a very controlled yet schizophrenic feel. This is about the “project launch” and successful integration.

Hands down, this is the most brutal song on the album. The screams are layered with vocoder to give it a slight synthetic feel while still feeling scary heavy. This song is about depersonalization and the psychological madness that sets in when “patients” cannot coexist with a shared reality.

“Parallel Trance”
We tried to go for an atmospheric, fleeting ending that aims to give the listener an uplifting feeling. The lyrics are about an untraceable outcome when a “patient” experiences an alternate plane of existence.