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Lyric Analysis

The Contortionist – Reimagined Lyric Analysis

Disclaimer: these interpretations are those of the writer and do not reflect the intentions of the lyricist. If you would like to contribute to the conversation or offer a different point of view, feel free to comment or contact Metal Utopia at promo@metalutopia.com.

Mysticism, the act of contact and connection with a higher power through means of ceremony to bring about a religious ecstasy. A practice as old as worship itself, the mystic forms of each culture have had massive influences on art throughout human history, and its concepts are not an unfamiliar subject in many different forms of music. Clairvoyant, released by The Contortionist in 2017, is one of the most recent works of art to to attempt to broach the subject.

Combining a new approach of their lyrical style to present these ancient concepts with techniques that are at the very forefront of progressive metal, The Contortionist created a masterpiece that will no doubt be seen as the spiritual successor to 2001s’ Lateralus. Before the lyrical analysis begins, a parallel must be made between the concepts at hand. “Mysticism” comes from an ancient Greek word meaning “to conceal,” while “clairvoyant” comes from French, roughly meaning “to see clearly.” This idea of the hidden being revealed is consistently visited throughout the album and should be kept in mind moving forward. With that, let us begin our analysis of the albums’ third track, “Reimagined.”

When I found the point of life
It came creeping towards me
In the shape of eyes

Starting here, the speaker reaches a breaking point in his journey of self understanding. Wisdom and experience necessary for such extreme growth, while not complete, had been building over time to gather into the breakthrough at hand–realization that manifests itself in full clarity, the beginning of clairvoyance through the culmination of ceremony.

It was all this reimagined
It was a different kind of speech
It was repetition
It was what you wanted to be

In this moment of revelation, life before this instance has now taken a new context. Much in the way mystics would speak in tongues during their exercises when they reached the height of their rituals, the speech of their self and life lived has changed to something else for the speaker, a process brought about by repeated practice and devotion in an effort for the external to express the internal.

When I saw the shape of sound
Everything came spiraling

Altered state of consciousness often allowed those partaking in a mystic practice to believe they were perceiving past the point of what was thought to be physically capable, such as comprehending certain stimuli like touch and sound through organs one would not normally process them through. During such moments, practitioners felt an insight and intelligence that brought aspects of their experiences and the world before them into a naturally completing and pleasing pattern .

Oh, come find
This caged me
Breathe
(Breathe)
Breathe in
(Breathe in)
Once you found the breath you’d lost
Breathe again
Breathe
(Breathe)
Breathe in
(Breathe in)
Once you found the breath you’d lost
Breathe again

Now, the language shifts to a more intimate conversation the speaker has with himself as opposed to what he is experiencing. Beckoning to his past, the speaker invites himself to reconnect with what positive aspects have been buried and lost–to form deeper connections by healing the bonds lost over time, using the wisdom culminating at this moment, and living in a state not yet experienced.

It was all this reimagined
It was a different kind of speech
It was repetition
And I am exactly what you imagined me to be

We are presented again with the chorus to close out the song, reinforcing the idea of repetitive rotations. The objective of which is to obtain the imagined inner-self of the speaker who is realizing the ultimate goal of the disciplines undertaken in the first place.

“Reimagined” comes in at the shortest of the nine tracks on Clairvoyant and yet delivers the growth and nuance expected from whole artists throughout their careers. Regardless of the sheer complexity of the music composed to reveal the ideals presented, this brief song is an early stop on a journey that gives its presentation more context at its end. The Contortionist has succeeded in communicating a prose on growth–bathed in minimalistic religious imagery–whose end result is wholesomely understandable and relatable.

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