Solid State Records
To hear bands grow into maturity musically often means, well, they get softer. That can be a good thing at times, but when you learn to love a band’s heaviness, “musical maturity” can sometimes mean a bummer record. Not so with Polar Similar. On their 7th album, Norma Jean have found a way to thread in melody, nuance, and technical musicianship without being self-indulgent. As usual, Cory Brandan’s vocals are full of believable rage and when he sings melodically, he continues capturing an intensity that other heavy bands can tend to lose when alternating loud/quiet vocals. A prime example of this is on “ 1,000,000 Watts” where he sarcastically sings, “I feel bad that you’re angry, but I’m sorry, I don’t care. For what it’s worth.” Norma Jean can reverently nod to a proper, heavy breakdown while simultaneously crafting a singable song. That is no easy feat. Polar Similar is another stellar release from a great, heavy band that’s clearly continuing to grow without going soft.