After the artistic, if not commercial, success of 2013’s Wrongdoers, there is once again anticipation for new material from Georgia’s Norma Jean.
Polar Similar is proof that their return to form was no fluke, which is where the parallels between those two records end. Even though they’ve made a career from deeply heavy and challenging music, this is possibly their bleakest album to date.
As soon as I. The Planet lurches from the speakers, slowly and menacingly, it’s obvious that Norma Jean are unwilling to pay lip service to their past. And while the pace and the volume of the record swings from one end of the spectrum to the other, there’s an almost gothic darkness to the overall feel of Polar Similar that never fades for a second. The hypnotic and disturbing II.
The People sounds more like it belongs on the soundtrack to a David Lynch movie than on a hardcore record, while Synthetic Sun owes much more to The Cure and Killing Joke than it does Killswitch Engage. In fact, such is the flow of the album, once you press play it’s impossible for your mind to wander at all, leaving you to digest Polar Simliar as one giant, all-encompassing piece of pitch-black brilliance.