Previous Pharmakon albums—Abandon and Bestial Burden—have touched on issues of the flesh. Bestial Burden portrayed the body as a failing system, a "rotting vessel" and jailer of the mind. Contact considers what happens when the mind breaks free. "Sentient"'s soaring instrumental, which whooshes upwards and expand from all sides, seems to convey that idea. It's one of the record's few moments of respite.
The searing production on Contact is one thing—what's most rousing, though, is Chardiet's voice. Her banshee cries pierce the soul on opener "Nakedness Of Need." On "No Natural Order," her black metal vocals are so shrill that they could shatter glass. She always sounds on the edge of a knife, prepared to bleed out for her art. Her lyrics—mostly incomprehensible—are at the heart of her project's beauty and philosophy. But even without discernible words, Contact sends a clear and uncomfortable message.
The album is hostile and debilitating. But playing Contact at home still falls short of experiencing Pharmakon live, despite Chardiet's efforts to transpose the energy that's exchanged between audience and performer at her shows. Chardiet's presence on the album is so commanding, however, that you can almost feel her reaching out to you from beyond the recording. It'll shake you up, no matter what.