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Track By Tracks: Polars Collide - Grotesque (2021)


First of all, this album has taken so many years to write. On the album there are songs from 2012 (Tragicomic and most of passenger) and the brand new songs from last year (spider and fly and Refraction of a 1000 lies). The album was recorded in a live studio, except Martin's vocals, which were added later in the process. It was produced by Andreas Lindemann.

1. Dissonance:

A gnarly opening for a gnarly record, it’s a lot of sound coming at you from the start.

It’s the introduction to a bit of the human experience, written as we crawl our way through existence.

2. Spider and Fly:

Two high hat hits to kick off this beast.

We felt it was a strong opener, with the groove we like to play.

Lyrically it’s about the horrors of abuse and what that does to a person. It’s written through the lens of the abused. It’s what I imagine a victim might suffer through, and how such a poor soul would perceive it’s predator. And of course how it comes to a violent, vengeful end.

The music is a constant fight between two opposites. The first is like a spider catching its prey, and the second part is the prey trying to escape. The "Mayhem riff" against the 32nd note roll is a perfect example of two poles that can't work together like a negative and a positive.

3. Unrelenting:

This is primarily about substance abuse.

“Unrelenting” refers to the never-ending call of needing to escape the reality of a broken mind. Using whatever means necessary to soothe the sense of being unable to fit in, and not feeling safe expressing oneself.

The quintuplet riff represents the odd timing throughout the song - the confusal of the mind despite playing a normal blastbeat or riff. Here we divide the rhythm in metric modulations with a 5~4 rhythm (5 against 4). The 9/16 bars are for the sake of the progressive feel to confuse the listener, but lands on 1 again. Also because we think it's so fun to play!

This song was mostly made in rehearsal, where we jammed the song to completion.

4. Refraction of a 1000 lies:

It’s about losing faith. Specifically the faith in a higher power. The frustration of losing belief in something you are certain about, and the doubts and anger it fuels when it’s lost.

The main riff is counted 5~3 feel, and later the pre outro-riff are staggered rhythm beats to maintain the "frustrated mind". The anger is represented in the outro riff, and there we play straight death metal blasts and riffs.

Most of the riffs in the song was actually written in just 5 hours... Don't know what happened that day.

5. Tragicomic:

This follows the same vein as the previous track. It’s about the lies told by whatever authority exists in your life. That everything is alright, and to have faith in whatever makes you feel better.

If nothing makes you feel better though, and you are headed for the end of everything without others noticing... that’s tragicomic.

The riff is so heavy that it still glitches between the bars in the rhythms. It is to sound and feel unpredictable, fast, and toxic.

6. Rejected:

What rejection does to a person.

When you dare to tell someone how you feel and the feeling is not reciprocated, it can lead to nasty thoughts.

The main riff is built up by the rythm and riff in 4~3. It's our single because it's a damn banger and we often joke that it is our pop track. It has it all, some proggy elements, the main riff is singable and catchy. It summarizes the 3rd kind of blastbeat that our drummer Hendrik can demonstrate: the lighter blast, the traditional blast and the last is the 32nd blast pocket.

7. Passenger:

This one is probably the darkest lyrically.

It’s about thoughts of murder and carrying a sense of self that manifests as an alternate personality.

A conflict between two minds in one skull, and the awareness that you are powerless to control it.

The ⅞ blasts represent the alternate personality, while the trashy riffs build up the 32nd blast is the constant conflict the mind is toxicated by. Some old school riffs to honor the variety of metal bands we listen to. Passenger is the oldest, and one of our first riffs. We wrote it back in 2012 but it really came to life when Martin joined the band in late November 2016, before recording our EP One to Rise in mid 2017. This track is fun and straight to play and makes us remember why we play together and that means a lot to us.

8. Grotesque:

This one is our favorite.

It’s about acceptance by others, and absolutely despising that fact. The compromise of who you feel you are, and what society expects you to be. The knowledge that you don’t feel right in your skin, but that others approve of this.

Forcing yourself into a box made by the “right” ones, and breaking yourself doing it. You feel dirty despite being clean, and perverted doing what you are told you should.

In essence, feeling Grotesque.

The Main riff is counted 32/4

(⅞ - 8/8 - ⅞, ⅞ - 8/8 - ⅞, ⅞ - 8/8 - ⅝) x 2

All that repeats 2 times as the whole riff.

Hendrik makes it feel oddly timed, but actually plays the pocket rhythm as 4/4 (the snare on 3) One of Hendriks biggest inspirations is Tomas Haake of Meshuggah, these drums are heavily inspired. Every member of Polars Collide are inspired by Meshuggah, and originally the working title for Grotesque was "SHUGGAH"

The outro riff, after Toby’s heroic guitar solo, are 1-16th note after the main pulse. It represents the grotesque way of thinking out of the box and to play a rhythm untraditionally.

9. Cancer:

The end to the record, and to the tragic life you have listened to these past 7 tracks.

I tried to imagine what you might feel when given such a terrible verdict, and the thoughts one might have when slowly dying.

Maybe you are at fault for getting the disease, maybe you don’t deserve it.

The end of dreams and the prospect of life replaced by nightmares and dread.

I feel that the instrumental part here does a good job representing the final stages of a terrified mind.

Slowly decay seeps in and you just hope that you didn’t live in vain.

The song starts in a calm jazzy style that develops into more notes. This progresses and varies the feel, and continues to build more melodies. It is like a cancer cell that slowly “eats away” and kinda represents a cancer cell that grows out of control. The main feel of Cancer is counted in ¾.

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